January 27, 2018

“Money can’t buy love.”

Beatles Can't Buy Me Love 45


“Say you don’t need no diamond ring and I’ll be satisfied
Tell me that you want the kind of thing that money just can’t buy
I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love”

       The Beatles
       Lyrics from their 1964 song “Can’t Buy Me Love”
       The saying “Money can’t buy love” wasn’t coined by the Beatles. It had been floating around as far back as the late 1800s and is a linguistic offspring of the earlier proverbial saying “Money can’t buy happiness,” which dates back to the early 1700s.
       However, in more recent times, “Money can’t buy love” was popularized and made familiar to millions of people by the Beatles song “Can’t Buy Me Love.”             
       The lyrics and music were written by Paul McCartney. He also sang the vocal alone, making it the first Beatles recording without harmony vocals by the other band members (John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr). It was released as a single in March 1964 and included on the soundtrack album for the Beatles movie A Hard Day’s Night.



“Money don’t get everything it’s true
What it don’t get, I can’t use
Now give me money
That’s what I want.”

       Lyrics from the song “Money (That’s What I Want)”
       Writing credits for the song are credited to Motown founder Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford, who started out as a Motown receptionist. It was first recorded in 1959 by Janie’s friend Barrett Strong. His version became Motown’s first major hit song. Strong claimed he helped write the song and his name was originally included on the copyright registration. Three years later, after the song was being covered by various artists and Gordy realized it would continue to generate significant revenues, he had Barrett’s name removed from the copyright.
       Ironically, one of the groups that covered the song was the Beatles. Their version, with John Lennon singing lead vocal, was released as a single in 1963.

Randy Newman Born Again


“They say that money
Can’t buy love in this world
But it’ll get you a half-pound of cocaine
And a sixteen-year-old girl
And a great big long limousine
On a hot September night
Now that may not be love but it is all right.”
       Randy Newman
       American musician             
       In his satirical song “It’s Money That I Love,” included on his 1979 album Born Again.

Christpher Marlowe


“Money can’t buy love, but it improves your bargaining position.”
       Attributed (wrongly) to Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)
       English playwright and poet, also believed to have been a secret spy for Queen Elizabeth            
       This quip is credited to Marlowe by thousands of online posts and books. In fact, he never said it. The history of how it was erroneously attributed to Marlowe was traced by quote sleuth Garson O’Toole in a post on his great Quote Investigator site.
       O’Toole concluded that the remark is of anonymous origin and was in circulation in the 1950s. In 1977, Laurence J. Peter included it in one of the sets of sayings in his highly popular book Peter’s Quotations: Ideas for Our Time. It appeared in parentheses above an actual quotation by Marlowe. After that, someone mistakenly cited “Money can’t buy love, but it improves your bargaining position” as Marlowe’s line and the misattribution has lived on.

Lucie M. C. R. Guibault          


“Economists assume that money can buy love, contrary to the Beatles, and will respond that love and other ‘positive’ emotions can be quantified as having an infinite value and hence beat all other interests at stake. Misery can be compensated for with money, and courts do that on a daily basis.”
       Lucie Guibault
       Canadian legal expert and Associate Professor of Law at Dalhousie University
       A comment in a footnote of her book The Future of the Public Domain: Identifying the Commons in Information Law



“The only incurable troubles of the rich are the troubles that money can’t cure,
Which is a kind of trouble that is even more troublesome if you are poor.
Certainly there are lots of things in life that money won’t buy, but it’s very funny –
Have you ever tried to buy them without money?”

Ogden Nash (1902-1971)
       American poet and humorist
       In his poem
“The Terrible People,” which was first published in the February 11, 1933 issue of The New Yorker magazine and included in the book of Nash’s poems published later that year, Happy Days.
The poem mocks the way some rich people to downplay the advantages money gives them. It starts with the line “People who have what they want are very fond of telling people who haven't what they want that they really don't want it.”

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