Greed. Is. Good. These words were immortalized by Gordon Gekko (aka Michael Douglas) in Oliver Stone's 1987 money masterpiece, 'Wall Street.' And while they might disagree with the sentiment, many musicians have tackled the pursuit of cash in song -- whether it's about having lots of money, having no money, or the assertion that money is the root of all evil. As the sequel to 'Wall Street' (subtitled 'Money Never Sleeps') hits theaters, Spinner takes a look at the Top 10 videos about the almighty green.
Probably the most famous song named 'Money,' this 1973 'Dark Side of the Moon' classic from Pink Floyd starts with the sound of cash registers and jingling change. We see flashes of silver coins, then as the bassline kicks in, furs, boats, diamonds and cars -- all the trappings of the very rich. The images are interspersed with shots of miners and homeless people, then the band indicts themselves by blowing up a stack of vinyl records.
Madonna has it both ways in the clip: She dons pink satin to recreate Marilyn Monroe's iconic performance of 'Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend' from 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,' coyly accepting extravagent gifts from tuxedo'd suitors. Then off-set, she spurns the advances of jewel-bearing shmucks in favour of the simple charms of a bearded guy in a beat-up truck. (But he's actually rich, so everybody wins!)
Mike Skinner is a happy family man watching his life being dismantled before his eyes in this moving 2008 clip from the Streets. He stands by helplessly as a collection agency barrels in to pack up his household belongings, with his miserable wife and young son by his side. The song's theme is more broad -- about how we come into the world with nothing and leave the same way -- but the video packs an emotional punch for recession-strapped working stiffs.
David LaChapelle does his trademark decadent, freaky thing in this 'Fiddler on the Roof'-sampling video. It's a mix of kitsch and glamour, with a pirate motif, lots of oily, buff bodies in very few clothes and megastar Stefani singing about how she wishes she could be super-rich (wasn't she already?). Eve adds some class to the proceedings, and the Harajuku girls prove that sometimes, what seems like a good idea at the time looks very silly a few years down the road.
The North Carlina-born troubadour takes on greedy TV evangelists in this 2005 video, with Matt Lucas of 'Little Britain' fame portraying a smug and smiling peddler of religion ("Miracles Guaranteed!"). The clip intersperses shots of mcmansions with the working class inhabitants of the America's heartland. Fun fact: This song was featured in Bill Maher's religion-baiting film 'Religulous.'
This gorgeous Hype Williams clip is shot in sumptuous, lush colour. Impossibly bodacious pin-up girls pose on fake magazine covers while Jamie Foxx sings a sultry hook a la Ray Charles. The always-intense Kanye bemoans a gold-digging girlfriend who turned his head but only wanted him for his fat wallet ("We want pre-nup!").
This 1980 Clash song is about a bankrobber who "never hurt nobody," choosing a life of theivery over the drudgery of a working class job. The video is mainly footage of the band performing the song, interspersed with a scene starring two of the band's roadies, with bandannas over thier faces, who pretend to pull bank heists. They ultimately take their loot to a box office, presumably to buy tickets to see The Clash.
Jay-Z shows that he hasn't forgotten his hustler roots, despite the stacks of bills lining his pockets. He hangs out on the corner and the stoop, chronicling his rags-to-riches story. This track took the most unlikely sample, sung by the plucky orphans from 1982 movie musical 'Annie,' and made it one of the most unforgettable refrains in rap.
Rivers Cuomo and his band of nerd-kings look uncomfortable surrounded by bikini-clad babes at the Playboy mansion. Hef and his erstwhile GFs cameo, inviting the boys to party with the bunnies, and they bring their nebbishy fans, who enjoy feeding the zoo animals and admiring the view. All the while, Rivers sings about wanting to be rich and famous ("Rolling like a celebrity"). The irony!
The Notorious B.I.G. Feat. Kelly Price, Puff Daddy and Ma$e
Sean Combs and his mumbly sidekick Ma$e are at their shiniest here, dancing and goofing off in day-glo jumpsuits over a sample of Diana Ross' classic 'I'm Coming Up.' This 1997 Hype Williams clip is a perfect example of the extravagent and futuristic aesthetic of the time, with a golf sub-plot celebrating Tiger Woods' recent ascent to greatness. Biggie pops in from beyond the grave to rap about the perils of wealth, while his former pals frolic amongst a fiesta of pyrotechnics, dancing girls and a zero-gravity simulator.