For the Love of Money

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"For the Love of Money"
Single by The O'Jays
from the album Ship Ahoy
B-side "People Keep Tellin' Me"
Released April 1974 (US)
Format Vinyl record (7" 45 RPM)
Recorded Sigma Sound Studios, Philadelphia: October 3, 1973
Genre R&B, Philadelphia soul, Funk
Length 3:42 (single version)
7:14 (album version)
Label Philadelphia International
Songwriter(s) Kenneth Gamble
Leon Huff
Anthony Jackson
Producer(s) Gamble and Huff
The O'Jays singles chronology
"Christmas Ain't Christmas New Year's Ain't New Year's Without The One You Love"
"For the Love of Money"
"String Module Error: Match not found"

"Christmas Ain't Christmas New Year's Ain't New Year's Without The One You Love"
"For the Love of Money"
"Sunshine" [Part 1]
Audio sample

"For the Love of Money" is a soul/funk song that was written and composed by Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff, and Anthony Jackson; it was recorded by Philadelphia soul group The O'Jays for the album Ship Ahoy. Produced by Gamble and Huff for Philadelphia International Records, "For the Love of Money" was issued as a single in late 1973 (see 1973 in music), with "People Keep Tellin' Me" as its b-side. The single peaked at number three on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart, and at No. 9 on Billboard's Pop Singles chart in spring 1974. Though the album version of the song was over seven minutes long, it received substantial radio airplay. The song's title comes from a well-known Bible verse, 1 Timothy 6:10: "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (This translation is from the King James Version of the Bible.)


Anthony Jackson played bass guitar on the song. One day during fall 1973, producer/keyboardist Leon Huff was leading the members of the MFSB rhythm section and Jackson through a rehearsal. Sigma Sound Studios owner/engineer Joe Tarsia noticed that Jackson had a wah-wah pedal attached to his Fender Precision Bass. Tarsia decided to run Jackson's bassline through a phaser, giving it a swishing sound and later mixed in echo. During the final mixing of the track, Kenny Gamble impulsively reached over to the echo button and added echo to Jackson's opening riffs.[citation needed]


  • The O'Jays - vocals
  • Anthony Jackson - bass
  • T. J. Tindall - guitar
  • Roland Chambers - guitar
  • Eddie Green/Leon Huff - piano
  • Lenny Pakula - organ
  • Earl Young - drums
  • Larry Washington - percussion, congas, bongos
  • Don Renaldo - horns


  • K. Gamble - producer, composer, lyricist
  • Leon Huff - producer, composer, lyricist
  • A. Jackson, composer, lyricist

Awards and accolades[edit]

"For the Love of Money" was nominated for the 1975 Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance – Duo, Group or Chorus, losing to "Tell Me Something Good" by Rufus. However, despite the 1975 snub, in 2016 The O'Jays' For The Love of Money was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame[1][2]

Chart history[edit]



The song is sampled in Grandmaster Melle Mel's 1985 single "Step Off," and Funky Four's "King Heroin" (1983). It has also been sampled by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch's single "I Need Money" and Charli Baltimore's single "Money." The Happy Mondays's "Rave On" (1989) intro was also based on the opening riff to "For The Love of Money." The British R&B singer/rapper Jentina sampled the money line for the chorus of her debut single "Bad Ass Strippa" in 2004. The rhythm and vocals are also used as the main backing track to Bone Thugs N' Harmony's 1995 single "Foe tha Love of $," featuring Eazy E. The song was sampled for the Papoose featuring Remy Ma single "What's My Name" in 2013. The song was sampled by Dr. Dre on the 2015 album "Compton" in the eponymous song "For the Love of Money."

In popular culture[edit]

Stand-up comedian Sinbad had the song briefly play in the background at one point during his 1993 television special Afros and Bellbottoms, while he changed into a different pair of shoes to illustrate a point about how people typically walked in the 1970s.[citation needed]

The song was featured at the beginning of the 1997 comedy film For Richer or Poorer.

Beginning in 2004, the song was used as the theme to the reality television show The Apprentice, with Donald Trump, and later as the theme to The Celebrity Apprentice, and also some international versions of the show, such as the Brazilian version of The Apprentice, called O Aprendiz, hosted by Roberto Justus.

The song was also briefly used during Trump's stint with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as his entrance theme before he changed to a different song, and it was subsequently incorporated into a series of sketches on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in which O'Brien would perform an impression of Trump.

Brian Griffin sings the chorus of the song whilst drunk in the episode of Family Guy titled "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater." The song was also featured on two episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Martin.

A small extract was also used when Monica, Chandler and Phoebe enter the casino in the finale of season 5 of the popular TV show Friends.

The song was parodied as "Cash Cash Cashety Cash" in the Drawn Together episode "The One Wherein There Is a Big Twist."

Bone Thugs N' Harmony used the first line as their chorus to the song "Foe Tha Love of Money," released in 1993.

The song was also played at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin when Wisconsin Badgers football kicker Taylor Mehlhaff converted field goal attempts.

On May 1, 2010, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. came out to this song before beating "Sugar" Shane Mosley in their 12-round bout.

Chad Mendes also previously used this song as his entrance music in the UFC.

The Rare Blend cover of "For the Love of Money" was used during a driving sequence ("Joe's Coin Bit") in the 2001 movie Driven.

The chorus of the song is sung by Whoopi Goldberg in the opening medley of songs in the film Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.

The song appears in Season 2 of Moonlighting, in the eighth episode, titled "Brother, Can You Spare a Blonde?" after Maddie Hayes (Cybill Shepherd) empties a suitcase of money to a waiting crowd below her.

The song was used for an H&R Block ad campaign beginning in 2014 called "Get your billion back America."

Diluted message[edit]

The lead singer of the O'Jays, Eddie Levert, once complained that in the years since the song became a hit, its message has been spun into one of pro-idolatry and has thus ceased to be one of awareness and self-control.[citation needed]



  • Jisi, Chris: "The Anthony Jackson Interview." Bass Player Magazine, Spring 1990.
  • Jisi, Chris: "The Anthony Jackson Interview." Bass Player Magazine, Summer 1990.
  • Jisi, Chris: "Spontaneous Combustion: Anthony Jackson & Michel Camilo." Bass Player Magazine, May 2002.

External links[edit]