For The Love Of Money

Album: Ship Ahoy (1973)
Charted: 9
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  • The songwriting/production duo of Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff co-wrote this song with Anthony Jackson, who also played bass on the track. Gamble and Huff wrote many songs that helped define the Philadelphia Soul sound, including this one, which was recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia.

    A key contributor to the song was Joe Tarsia, who was the engineer at Sigma. He had just installed an Eventide phaser in the control room, and when Jackson started playing, Tarsia tried recording the bass (with a wah-wah pedal) through the phaser. Gamble loved the effect, which provided a unique sound that made the song stand out on the airwaves.

    Tarsia added effects to the background vocals as well, creating a reverse echo where the echo precedes the vocal, something Jimmy Page did on a few Led Zeppelin tracks, including "Whole Lotta Love."
  • Often misinterpreted as a song celebrating the accumulation of money, it's actually one of the more unadorned warnings about the sordid side of the mighty dollar, pointing out the things people will do for it: cheat, lie, even steal from their mother. The song was written at a time when the songwriters Gamble and Huff were reaping the financial rewards of their success, but also reconciling it with their spiritual beliefs (Gamble had recently converted to Islam). The duo often wrote messages into their songs gleaned from their everyday conversations. On this track, they are very clear: "Don't let money change you."
  • With the chorus of "Money, money, money, money," this has been used in many promos, TV shows and movies where greed or the pursuit of the almighty dollar are concerned.

    TV shows to use the song include:

    Scandal ("The Other Woman" - 2012)
    Hawaii Five-0 ("Kuka'awale" - 2015)
    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ("Man Up" - 2011)
    Friends ("The One in Vegas: Part 1" - 1999)
    The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ("Winner Takes Off" - 1993)
    Moonlighting ("Brother, Can You Spare a Blonde?" - 1985)

    Movies include:

    Deepwater Horizon (2016)
    Think Like a Man Too (2014)
    The Honeymooners (2005)
    All About the Benjamins (2002)
    Driven (2001)
    For Richer or Poorer (1997)
    Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993)
    Strictly Business (1991)
    New Jack City (1991)
    Action Jackson (1988)

    There is also a 2012 film called For The Love Of Money that uses the song.
  • This was the theme song of the NBC reality series The Apprentice, which went on the air in 2004 and ran until 2015, when the star of the show, Donald Trump, ran for president. Trump ended up winning, and in 2017 NBC rebooted the series, this time as The Celebrity Apprentice, with Arnold Schwarzenegger. This rendition also used "For The Love Of Money" as the theme.

    During Trump's run for president in 2016, he used another O'Jays song, "Love Train," at the Republican convention. This didn't sit well with the group members, who denounced him.

Comments: 12

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 16, 1974, the O'Jays were guests on the Philadelphia-based syndicated television program 'The Mike Douglas Show'...
    At the time the OJays' "For the Love of Money" was at #66 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; a little over three weeks earlier it had peaked at #9 {for 1 week} and it spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #3 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart...
    Between 1963 and 1997 the Ohio trio had thirty records on the Hot Top 100 chart; six made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "Love Train" for 1 week on March 18th, 1973...
    And between 1972 and 1989 they had ten #1 records on the Hot R&B Singles chart...
    Original member William Powell passed away at the young age of 35 on January 20th, 1942...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Rick from Phoenix, AzDoes anyone know who played the high sax solo theme that shows up about half way through. It's one of the most identifiable little melodies but never got attributed to anyone. Only the bassline intro. The riff I'm talking about is just six notes long. In the key of E it's E G A B E(high octive) back to low E or I'd call it 134581. Anyone?
  • Kenny from Ridgeway, VaJust a note on the Bass player-Of course Anthony
    Jackson was the creator of that bass line,But the Bass Player you see in the 2 Youtube Videos is
    Curtis Teel,a good friend who passed away several years ago. He was a great Bass Player and nailed the Bass Line live,even though he told me the OJays liked the Tempo a little peppier than the Studio version.
  • Pdiddy from Westland, MiJeffery the butler on the '80s sit com The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire cranked this in his room and danced while packing his things, after being duped by Will into thinking that he had won the lottery. This was the first time I heard this song and it was very catchy. Just heard it on the radio this morning and finally found the title and group! iTunes, here I come!
  • Gary from Houston, TxIt needs to Totally Recovered
    By a Popular Artist
  • John from Nashville, TnThe bass line on this song was so strong and distinctive, bass player Anthony Jackson automatically received co-writer credit on this song along with Gamble and Huff.
  • Ken from Fremont, CaYES! A powerful, straight from the gut, bass line. Over 30 years old, probably a billion people recognize it in an instant. The song rivets your attention in the first six notes -- and by cutting the Bull and going right to the core of what means to be a human being, while not being preachy! An urgent message to people in their 20s, I wonder why more did not heed its message. Try writing a song like THAT between now and the rest of your life. An awesome song, from gifted writers, delivered by an legendary group. One of my top five songs of all time.
  • Scott from Chelan, WaStella, you're not kidding. I've cleaned them up some, based on a 7:19 version I've got. I assume there was a shorter AM radio version?
  • Stella from Ham Lake, MnThe lyrics posted on this site are wrong.
  • Carmen Fancher from Endwell, NyThe 80's "hair-metal" band BulletBoys re-recorded this on their self titled debut LP. It was an interesting remake with the chorus of "money money money" recorded through what sounds like a flanger and delay. The video was in heavy rotation on MTV's Headbanger's Ball.. and introduced a new audience to an old classic.
  • Sean from Toronto, CanadaThis song was also used in "Behind the Camera: An Unauthorized Story of 'Three's Company'" when 'Suzanne Somers' entered the studio looking to demand a raise.
  • Shell from Riverdale, GaOne of the best and most recognizable bass lines in music history. A marvelous tune overall.
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