In the mid ’80s, Brit rock band Dire Straits gained a new group of fans with its blues/pop song that was all about music videos with the single Money for Nothing.
Written by Dire Straits singer Mark Knopfler, the song refers to a not-so-smart working class guy, who watches the newfangled music videos and comments on the images portrayal of apparently idyllic lives of these fictional characters.
Released as the second single from their album Brother in Arms in May 1985, the song gained radio airplay on rock and contemporary radio stations because of the lyrics as much as the addition of Sting from The Police as a co-vocalist on the track.
Knopfler had to be convinced to do a video, which he thought would destroy music, and the concept was to animate the title character of the song. This unique concept convinced Knopfler and the video was released to MTV in the US for heavy rotation and became the first video shown on MTV Europe when it debuted in 1987.
The video was my lure to the music – with its cool animation and the haunting voice of Sting on the chorus, I was hooked on this song and played it endlessly.
The single hit the Billboard Hot 100 number one spot in mid September 1985, staying at the top for three weeks. The album Brothers in Arms sold one million copies and was one of the first albums of the era that was focused on the new format compact disc.
The album has become the eighth bestselling album in UK history, certified nine times platinum in the US and won two Grammy Awards in 1986. The album sold 30 million copies and would become the band’s last album of the decade, before reuniting in 1991.