Dire Straits, the British rock band led by Mark Knopfler, scored their biggest hit with "Money for Nothing" in 1985. The song, which features a guest appearance by Sting, satirizes the glamorous lifestyle of rock stars as seen by a working-class man who watches MTV. Here are some facts and trivia about the song and its iconic video.
● "Money for Nothing" reached number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in mid-September 1985, becoming the band's only US chart-topper. It also topped the charts in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and several European countries.
● Knopfler wrote the song with Sting, who contributes the "I want my MTV" chant in the opening and the chorus. The phrase was inspired by a slogan used by MTV at the time to promote their network. Sting also sings backing vocals on the bridge and receives a co-writing credit for his contribution.
● The song was the first video shown on MTV Europe when the channel signed on in 1987. The video, directed by Steve Barron, features computer-animated imagery of appliances, guitars, and people, as well as live-action footage of the band performing. The video won several awards, including Video of the Year at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.
● The song won a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal in 1986. It was also nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, but lost to "We Are the World" by USA for Africa.
● Knopfler says the idea for the song came to him while he was in a store in New York. He overheard a delivery man commenting on the music videos playing on a wall of TV sets. Knopfler recorded some of the man's remarks on a cassette tape and used them as the basis for the lyrics. In an audio file, Knopfler explains his inspiration for "Money for Nothing."
"Sometimes, some songs have like a situation. You walk into a situation and you see it. 'Money for Nothing,' I was out with my wife and we were buying some kitchen stuff in New York. And it had all these microwave ovens and cookers and kitchen display units in the front window and it had a wall of TV sets at the back of the store -- it was a big appliance store. They were all tuned to MTV and the guy, the protagonist in 'Money for Nothing', he was there and he was just talking about all these videos that were on. I just started spying on him and...bang, there's the situation."
● Dire Straits were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. "Money for Nothing" was one of the songs they performed at the ceremony, with Knopfler's brother David joining them on stage after a long estrangement.
"Money for Nothing" is widely regarded as one of Dire Straits' signature songs and one of the most memorable songs of the 1980s. It showcases Knopfler's distinctive guitar style and witty lyrics, as well as Sting's catchy hook. It also reflects the cultural impact of MTV and its influence on music and society.
[Source: Classic Hits Today]