'Money for Nothing' by Dire Straits rocked the world in 1985

August 10, 2016

This wee4k in 1985

'Money for Nothing' by Dire Straits

peaked at Number 4 on the UK singles chart

Notable for its groundbreaking music video

and a cameo appearance by Sting

singing the song's falsetto introduction and backing chorus

"I want my MTV"

who also co-wrote the song with Mark Knopfler

The song's lyrics

were considered controversial at the time of the song's release

are were written from the point of view

of a working-class man watching music videos

and commenting on what he sees

It was Dire Straits' most commercially successful single

peaking at number 1 for three weeks in the United States

number 1 for three weeks on the US Top Rock Tracks chart


“Money for Nothing"

was a track off the group's 'Brothers in Arms' album

The single won the Grammy Award

for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal

in 1986 at the 28th Annual Grammy Awards

The video won Video of the Year at the 3rd MTV Video Music Awards


Knopfler modeled his guitar sound on the recorded track

after ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons' trademark guitar tone

as ZZ Top's music videos were already a staple of early MTV

Gibbons later told a Musician magazine interviewer in 1986

that Knopfler had solicited Gibbons help in replicating the tone

adding, "He didn't do a half-bad job, considering that I didn't tell him a thing!"

Knopfler duplicated Gibbons' use of a Gibson Les Paul guitar

(rather than a Fender Stratocaster) which he plugged into a Marshall amplifier


Another factor in trying to recreate the sound was a wah-wah pedal

that was turned on but only rocked to a certain position

The specific guitar sound in the song was made with a Gibson Les Paul

going through a Laney amplifier

with the sound coloured by the accidental position of two Shure SM57 microphones without any processing during the mix


Dire Straits performed "Money for Nothing"

with Sting at the 1985 Live Aid Concert at Wembley Stadium

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