Most people know this tune as the theme to Donald Trump’s reality show, The Apprentice. But don’t hold that against it. A lot of great songs get famous from being featured in something…Mediocre. In fact, I didn’t love this song until I saw New Jack City, where it was given the 1990s backbeat treatment and sung around a burning garbage can as a cover (mashed up with Stevie Wonder’s, “Living For the City”) by LeVert—complete with a rap verse by Queen Latifah. I love that movie. It introduced me to Ice-T, and gave Wesley Snipes his career-defining line: “See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya,” which he utters right before he drops someone off a bridge.
But I digress.
The O’Jays were part of Gable and Huff’s Philly sound who broke through big time with the songs “Back Stabbers” and “Love Train.” “For the Love of Money” came when the band was really at their peak, and like so many other songs in this GOAT feature, it was nominated for a Grammy and lost to something quite inferior: “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus. It’s been sampled and stolen by tons of rappers, most recently by Dr. Dre on his “Compton” album (2015), which features a song called…“For the Love of Money.”
THE GREATEST OF ALL TUNES (G.O.A.T.) is a series of posts, producing my 100 favorite songs of all time. The master list is here, and I update it about every two weeks or when I have another 10 songs or so.
Further listening: Other O’Jay candidates for a Greatest Of All Tunes feature could include Back Stabbers and Love Train. If you like those, check out 992 Arguments, I Love Music, and their 1978 comback hit “Use To Be My Girl.”
Covers: Many many many. Let’s start with New Jack City and see what happens…(Queensryche will happen. And it’s better than you think.)
This one is from Dr. Dre’s soundtrack to the Ice Cube version of the NWA story. It’s an instrumental, but really–does anyone listen to Dre for lyrics?
And this version won a Juno!