The Story Behind “Money For Nothing” By Dire Straits

via @Max Jansson | Youtube

The song Money For Nothing of Dire Straits talks about the rock star excess and what easy life it brings compared to the people who grind at their work 24/7. 

Mark Knopfler wrote the song when he overheard a conversation between delivery men in a New York department store who were complaining about their jobs in the midst of watching MTV. A few minutes after, he wrote the song in the store while sitting at a kitchen display — many of the contents he had written for the song were actually said by those delivery men.

When Dire Straits recorded the song in Montserrat, Sting of the Police happens to be on a vacation there and came by to help Knopfler. Sting also had helped write it, and he was the one who’s singing at the beginning, “I want my MTV.” However, he did not want a songwriting credit, but his record company did — and of course, it’s because of the royalties they would earn from it. 

At the recording studio, Mark Knopfler plugged in a Les Paul Junior into the Laney amp — and their producer Neil Dorfsman recalled that “we were going for a ZZ Top sound, but what we ended up getting was kind of an accident,” during an interview in Sound On Sound magazine May 2006. 

Dire Straits’ Money For Nothing reached #1 straight three weeks in the US and had also won Grammy in 1986 for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.