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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Been down a thousand highways and they're all the same / Another empty place where I can hide my shame
— Steve Earle, Shadowland
January 15, 2011
Ten Dire Straits Songs Better Than “Money for Nothing”

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council recently ruled that Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing, which includes the use of the word faggot in a satirical sense, can no longer be played on Canadian radio unless the word is edited out.

The fact that the song was recorded in 1985 and has probably had less airplay in the last fifteen years than any number of misogynistic and profanity laden pieces of popular music released since appears to be lost on the Council. The decision could lead to subsequent bans on songs like The Pogues Fairtytale of New York no more television airings of various Austin Powers movies, all the while allowing Ice T to scream Copkiller, Britney Spears to implore someone to Hit Me Baby One More Time and Biz Mark E to sing about Sittin’ on a toilet / Waitin’ for my bowels to move. Well played, CBSC. Well played.

The fact that a regulatory body has the time to waste something like this while virtually every other similar institution does nothing is astonishing. (Hello CRTC? Have you noticed that cell phone rates in Canada are amongst the highest in the world these days? Maybe you should get on that.)

The ridiculousness of the situation has generated tonnes of press coverage, all of which has seemed to gloss over a simple but critical fact: Money for Nothing is a horrible song. Dire Straits is a legendary band and Mark Knopfler’s guitar playing is astonishing to listen too (he was once described by Douglas Adams as having “…an extraordinary ability to make a Schecter Custom Stratocaster hoot and sing like angels on a Saturday night, exhausted from being good all week and needing a stiff drink.” but Money for Nothing is not his strongest work. It was a huge hit, and took the band’s popularity to new levels (particularly in North America) but there are at least ten songs that you should be listening to instead of it. Even Knopfler has said in the past that he’s not happy that the song has become the band’s best known legacy.

There are at least ten songs you should be listening too instead of Money for Nothing though, and here they are.

Telegraph Road

Epic and thirteen minutes in length when played live, Telegraph Road eschews the conventions of the rock and roll epic and remains beautiful throughout. The version on Alchemy: Live remains high on my playlist.

Brothers in Arms

The closing track for the album that opens with Money for Nothing this song couldn’t be less like that pop jingle. It was featured in an episode of the West Wing which gave it a boost of popularity in the late 1990s.

Sultans of Swing

Listen to that guitar. Listen to it again. You can thank me later.

Tunnel of Love

Romeo and Juliet

Once Upon a Time in the West

This is the first track on the Alchemy: Live double album. That the album only gets better from here is amazing, considering how good this song is live.

Why Worry

Another song buried in the Brothers in Arms album, Why Worry is a beautifully written and played tune.

Expresso Love

I’ve continued to overlook the seeming spelling error in the title of this song—I assume it was intentional on Knopfler’s part—because of its energetic brilliance.

Industrial Disease

As pop songs go this commentary on modern society’s addiction to our own technology has actually stood the test of time much better than Money for Nothing has. The fact that Sting’s not singing the backing vocal track is probably partly why.

Ride Across the River

Brothers in Arms really is an incredibly strong album. This song anchors the middle.

Posted by skooter at 9:21 PM This entry is filed under Music, Politics.
This entry is tagged: Canadian Broadcast Standards Board, Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler, Music

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