The Most Misunderstood Song About The Power of Money

“For The Love Of Money,” may be the most misunderstood song in all of history. Focusing on the catchy “Money, Money, Money, Muuun-nay” refrain leads many to miss all the embedded soulful consciousness. A deeper dive sheds light on why the tune was chosen as the SRI Investor’s theme song.

For The Love Of Money” (lyrics listed below) is a warning composed by R&B artists who were rapidly approaching the pinnacle of commercial music success. This song was written and produced by the famous Philadelphia Soul collaborators Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff who also authored “If You Don’t Know Me by Now”, “Love Train” and scores of other famous R&B hits that have achieved immortality as groovy wedding ceremony staples. Gamble and Huff added Anthony Jackson as a writer of the song in recognition of the soul-piercing opening bass lines he developed which became a signature of the song.

“For The Love Of Money” was recorded by the O’Jays and became an immediate Billboard Hit in 1973. Instead of celebrating wealth, this unusually lengthy seven minute soul ballad offers seven examples of how greed entices people to do all kinds of terrible things to others and sometimes to themselves.

More wealth has been created in America in the last fifty years than in any country at any other period of history. Like Gamble and Huff, American capitalism is reaching the pinnacle of its economic success. This song reminds us that we can gain the whole world and yet still lose our soul.

The fundamental principle of the SRI Investor is this: the future is a product of the investment seeds we plant today. As investors, we hand our capital over to corporate managers for planting. They choose the seeds, the ground and the field workers. The one expectation that is absolutely certain is that their seeds are expected to produce a financial harvest. Yet, these seeds also represent a future of non-financial outcomes that impact key stakeholders.

Consider how tempting it can be to lose sight of these so called intangibles when the only question that most investors are asking is how well the stock did last quarter. It’s too easy to blame corporate America for losing their souls. Investors need to accept responsibility for the messaging they send to the planters.

“For The Love Of Money” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame Class of 2016. Just as Philadelphia Soul established its place in our culture perhaps there is some room for it in our portfolios as well.

Listen to “For The Love Of Money” recording on YouTube.

Lyrics:
Money, money, money, money, money [6x]
Some people got to have it
Some people really need it
Listen to me y’all, do things
Do things, do bad things with it
You wanna do things, do things
Do things, good things with it
Talk about cash money, money
Talk about cash money
Dollar bills, all

For the love of money
People will steal from their mother
For the love of money
People will rob their own brother
For the love of money
People can’t even walk the street
Because they never know
Who in the world they’re gonna beat
For that lean, mean, mean green
Almighty dollar, money

For the love of money
People will lie, Lord, they will cheat
For the love of money
People don’t care who they hurt or beat
For the love of money
A woman will sell her precious body
For a small piece of paper
It carries a lot of weight
Call it lean, mean, mean green

Almighty dollar

I know money is the root of all evil
Do funny things to some people
Give me a nickel, brother can you spare a dime
Money can drive some people out of their minds

Got to have it, I really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Some people really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Got to have it, I really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Lay down, lay down, a woman will lay down
For the love of money
All for the love of money
Don’t let, don’t let, don’t let money rule you
For the love of money
Money can change people sometimes