"Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" is a song written by Benji Madden and Joel Madden for Good Charlotte's second studio album The Young and the Hopeless. It was released as the first single from the album in late 2002 in the United States and in early 2003 for the worldwide market. Upon its release the single reached a peak position of number 20 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and charted in the top 40 in a number of European countries.
The basic concept of the song is the global obsession with fame and the way that celebrities are not appreciative of how fortunate they are.
The song has references to a number of celebrities within the lyrics. Johnnie Cochran, a famous attorney who represented (amongst others) stars such as O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown. He is mentioned in the lines "Well did you know when you're famous you could kill your wife/ and there's no such thing as 25 to life/ as long as you got the cash to pay for Cochran." A former mayor of Washington, D.C., Marion Barry – who was convicted on drug charges – is also mentioned in the lyrics: "and did you know if you were caught and you were smokin' crack/ McDonald's wouldn't even wanna take you back/ you could always just run for mayor of D.C."
The music video features cameo appearances from Kyle Gass, a member of the bands Tenacious D and Trainwreck; former 'N Sync singer Chris Kirkpatrick; and Mike Watt, the bass player for various bands. All three musicians appear in the courtroom scene - Gass plays the prosecutor while Kirkpatrick plays the witness "Chadwick Merryweather Hardy III". Watt plays the Jury foreman. The dog questioned in the video is Benji & Joel's dog, Ca$hdogg. The Southern California rock band Lefty, who had been touring with Good Charlotte also make a cameo appearance. This video premiered in September 2002 on MTV.
In a largely negative review of The Young and the Hopeless, Sputnik Music called this particular song "the worst choice for a lead single that I have ever seen." The reviewer goes on to write "The terrible lyrics are totally contradictory to Good Charlotte's attitude. As kids, all they wanted to do was "make it" and become famous. And when they have their first taste of success, what do they do? They make a song about how shallow famous people are!". However the reviewer finished on a slightly more positive note by saying "The song's only saving grace is the tempo change in the music during the chorus after the bridge...but they ruin that by going back to the same pace for the last chorus."
"Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" was heard on an episode of the American television show Drake and Josh in 2004, when Drake and Josh turned on the radio in their dune buggy, and the song's chorus was playing.