”Money for Nothing” Song Not Suitable for Canadian Radio

Jan 14, 2011 · 1985 views

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I sung along to this all through the 80s and never once realized there was a gay slur in it.


  1. Rick Aiello says:

    Most versions cut out that verse… but I remember hearing it way back then and thinking they could have used a different term. Apparently the song was based on a conversation the writer, Marc Knopfler, had with some old guy about music stars:

    “The lead character in “Money for Nothing” is a guy who works in the hardware department in a television/custom kitchen/refrigerator/microwave appliance store. He’s singing the song. I wrote the song when I was actually in the store. I borrowed a bit of paper and started to write the song down in the store. I wanted to use a lot of the language that the real guy actually used when I heard him, because it was more real….”

  2. Tony C says:

    They talked about it again last night on the national news. A couple of radio stations played the unedited version for twenty four hours straight. They talked to an openly gay radio DJ here in Vancouver, who agreed with the ruling. He said, we’ve been listening to the edited version of “Money for Nothing” for quite some time. He also said that if the song was released today, the lyrics would have been changed.

    The ruling couldn’t have come at a worse time for gay Canadians. We’re on the verge of another election that will likely resemble the American mid-terms. Our Prime Minister and his party are unabashedly homophobic, so when this came up in question period, it played right into his hands. And he got the last laugh.

    I say keep the gay slurs in Dire Straits songs and the N word in Huckleberry Finn!

    AKA: Garpinbc

  3. Tony C says:

    And thank you Marc and Fausto for dressing up my post a little. Give a girl some class darlin.

  4. Mark Macdonald says:

    Gay art and writing have been censored in Canada since forever. I was present at the Supreme Court of Canada as a member of the entourage for Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium in our battle to halt the censorship by Canada Customs of gay & lesbian material entering the country. I was the book buyer there for just over a decade. Let me tell you, that I have faced censorship, and that legions of artists and writers have fought long and hard for their rights to freedom of expression in this country. They fought so that no petty bureaucrat sitting in Ottawa can decide what is decent or indecent for Canadian audiences.

    It is well known that Mark Knopfler, in writing Money for Nothing, was quoting the yobbo labourers he worked with, the very same people who shift colour tvs. For 26 years, this mediocre rock song has played in Canada without any scrutiny. To raise an eyebrow now is not only embarrassing, but counter to everything we have fought for. This song was NOT written by Fred Phelps. It is not hateful, nor demeaning.

    You ban one song for one word – a word that is warmly and openly embraced in the gay community – and then what? How many songs shall we ask the government to prohibit? Frank Zappa – BANNED

  5. Tony says:

    And if you watch John Waters’ “This Filthy World” he talks about how the Canadian Censor board burned one of his films.

  6. Mark Macdonald says:

    We must not, as a community, embrace censorship. That is a tool of the most low-brow, authoritarian regimes, and those who would oppress us, most obviously.

    Boycott your local station, if you like, or burn your Dire Straits albums in the street if you think that will be anything but childish. But PLEASE do not ask the government to act as the prudish censor. It’s a job they have f**ked up for decades, with our community feeling the brunt of it over all others.

    Art is good. Expression is good. We don’t have to agree – THAT’S THE POINT OF DISCOURSE, people!

    I do not want to be associated with a nation or culture that chooses censorship before discourse. Where the heck were all of you when the song was playing for the last quarter century? You’re outraged now? Grow up! Jeez.

  7. Rick Aiello says:

    Mark, I don’t think any of us here are outraged. I get the point of the song– and the song was never written to say that gay people were bad. I agree that censorship is bad, and in this case it’s definitely a case of too much, too late. Where were these censors 25 years ago when the song came out?

  8. libhomo says:

    I noticed it. That’s why I didn’t buy the song or anything else by the band.

  9. Tony C says:

    According to the news report I saw the other nite, Dire Straits hasn’t used the lyric in concert in years. Apparently much of the music we grew up to has been subtly edited over the last twenty years, plus the Walmart effect on popular music

    What I found interesting about that particular story was the reference to “clean” lyrics on iTunes and how you can buy the censored version or the version would want to listen to. It reminded me of how gay guys on Manhunt refer to themselves as “Clean”.

  10. Cole says:

    Wow! Next thing you know, they’ll take the “N-word” out of “Huckleberry Finn”. Oh, wait…

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