Canada Bans Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing”

Something truly insane from north of the border:

Classic Dire Straits track Money For Nothing has been banned from public broadcast in Canada – after receiving just one complaint 25 years after its release.

The global hit single came out on the band’s iconic fifth album, Brothers In Arms, in May 1985 and won a Grammy for best rock performance the following year.

The result was a single complaint – but the self-regulating Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has upheld it, and no outlet in the nation can now play Money for Nothing the way Dire Straits intended it to be heard.

The complaint said: “Money for Nothing was aired and included the word ‘faggot’ a total of three times. I am aware of other versions of the song and yet Oz-FM chose to play and not censor the version I am complaining about. As a member of the LGBT community I feel there is no reason for such discriminatory remarks to be played on air.

Dire Straits mainman Mark Knopfler has fielded angry reaction to the lyrics since the song first came out. He has pointed out the song is written from the viewpoint of a stupid character who thinks musicians make their “money for nothing” and his stupidity is what leads him to make ignorant statements.

But the original version included the word “faggot” referring to homosexuals, and although a cleaned-up edition was made available, Oz-FM in Newfoundland played the first edition in February last year.

Honestly, I wasn’t even aware that the word appeared in the lyrics, perhaps because the version that I always heard on the radio in the 80s seems to have omitted that verse entirely.

Via Twitter

Here’s the full, 8 minute long version of the song just for you guys in the Great White North (obvious warning about potentially offensive lyrics in the song’s second verse):

UPDATE (James Joyner): Here, for those without the ability to listen, are the lyrics:

I want my, I want my M.T.V.

Now look at them yo-yo’s, that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the M.T.V.
That ain’t working, that’s the way you do it
Money for nothing and your chicks for free

Now that ain’t working, that’s the way you do it
Let me tell you them guys ain’t dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Baby get a blister on your thumb

We got to install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We got to move these refrigerators
We got to move these colour T.V.’s

The little faggot with the earring and the makeup
Yeah buddy, that’s his own hair
That little faggot got his own jet airplane
That little faggot he’s a millionaire

We got to install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We got to move these refrigerators
We got to move these colour T.V.’s

We got to install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We got to move these refrigerators
We got to move these colour T.V.’s

Look at that, look at that
I should have learned to play the guitar
I should have learned to play them drums
Look at that mama, she got it sticking in the camera
Man we can have some
And he’s up there, what’s that? Hawaiian noises?
Banging on the bongos like a chimpanzee
Oh, that ain’t working, that’s the way you do it
Get your money for nothing get your chicks for free

We got to install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We got to move these refrigerators
We got to move these colour T.V.’s

Listen here
Now that ain’t working, that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the M.T.V.
That ain’t working, that’s the way you do it
Money for nothing and your chicks for free
Money for nothing and chicks for free

Get your money for nothing, get your chicks for free
Money for nothing, chicks for free
Look at that, look at that
Get your money for nothing, get your chicks for free (I want my, I want my, I want my M.T.V.)
Money for nothing and chicks for free
Easy, easy

That ain’t working

Oddly, I vividly recall the above version being played on the radio and on MTV.

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. mantis says:

    Here’s another “clean” version.

  2. Franklin says:

    I’m not familiar with Canada’s free speech laws and public broadcasting standards. But as always, this is stupid. Especially so when you consider the context.

  3. jim fixit says:

    Really now…Seriously? After 25 years they find this offensive? Pullease!

    And we want to pattern our health care after a country with such idiotic tendencies?

    Here’s a thought: maybe Canada should pull it’s head out from you-know-where and let capitalism save their country. Funny thing about capitalism, if you do not FORCE people to buy a product, then if they are offended…they won’t. What a concept! How about all the people offended by those lyrics change radio stations and thus hear from different sponsors, and reward those sponsors with their business?

  4. Jake P says:

    Huh. I always found it offensive because it’s an annoying song that got airplay primarily because of the video back in the MTV days.

  5. Franklin says:

    It’s a great song, regardless of the video, which was also innovative.

    But if you take the lyrics apart, there’s more to be “offended” by, if you’re into being offended at everything. Look at that mama? Banging on the bongos like a chimpanzee?

  6. ptfe says:

    Ahem, @jim fixit: “Alan Cross of Canadian service ExploreMusic comments: ‘The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council is run by Canada’s private broadcasters. In exchange for the government not meddling, broadcasters have long promised to regulate themselves. It’s seen as much preferable to the arrangement in the US where the FCC – a government organization run by political appointees – carries a very heavy hammer when it comes to regulating broadcast content; or in the UK where Ofcom plays a similar role.'”

    This is the industry self-regulating. Which you would have found if you’d just looked at the linked article. Yes, the power of reading…it’s amazing.

  7. Mike says:

    Hey “”””Jim Fixit””””, why dont you pull your head out of your own you know where and stop lumping all Canadian’s together. Or shall I call you a Cross burning, redneck who is offended by free health care because that would mean that your sister would have to claim her illigitimate child as yours, and you’d have to run to mexico to avoid persecution for being a dead beat dad. Oh and if you dont like this comment than reward someone else with your ignorance and switch the web page.

  8. Jay Tea says:

    See the little faggots, with their hockey and their curling.
    Yeah buddy, they got national health care.
    Those little faggots got their Looney currency,
    Those little faggots — hey, Celine Dion’s from there!

    J.

  9. john says:

    Hey people……….that was one complaint ……dont paint us all with the same brush please………..youve got some idiot in arizona blasting people away and we are sure youre not all like that….

  10. Franklin says:

    Jay Tea, always a class act, and fairly representative of most Republicans.

  11. Jay Tea says:

    (sigh)

    Franklin, one of the quickest ways to kill a joke is to explain it. But I’m going to.

    Inspired by Weird Al Yankovic, both by his song mantis linked to earlier and his more recent “Canadian Idiot,” I took the “offensive” verse and rewrote it with Canadian references.

    Hockey and curling — very popular sports in Canada.
    National health care — another of Canada’s claims to fame.
    The “Loonie” (I misspelled it) — the nickname for the Canadian dollar coin.
    Celine Dion — one of the most famous Canadian entertainers. I almost used Anne Murray, which would have scanned better, but Dion is more popular and polarizing.

    I hoped that the fact that I put my lyrics in italics and Doug had put the original lyrics in his posting would suffice for most people, but I didn’t take into account the sheer density you’re demonstrating…

    J.

  12. Paul Blair says:

    “Oh boy! One of the bad people said something we can spin!”

  13. Franklin says:

    Jay Tea-

    Uh, I got the “joke”, I don’t even mind offensive jokes. Except jokes are supposed to be funny. That’s the part at which you failed.

  14. grego says:

    i am deeply disturbed by the insult directed at chimps. how dare you bring a furry little, cute little creature down to the level of some white cracker bitch bangin on drums.

    you owe the animal kingdom and chimps in general an apology.

  15. John Ball says:

    Just more faggot reverse decrimination.