Broke-ass Playlist: Top 10 Tunes about being Broke

Posted on 17 January 2012
By Amber Tan
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It’s two weeks ’til the end of January and payday, we’re all huddling round the T.V. for warmth and inspiration while waiting for our wages or a sign from God that the end is nigh.

Here’s Purple Revolver’s best tracks about being down to your last few pennies to keep you going. We tried to keep it upbeat…

Playlist: Top 10 Tunes about being broke

1. Hard Knock Life

Soundtrack to Annie, Hard Knock Life (it was later covered and renamed Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem) by Jay Z, taken from his third and most commercially successful album Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life), it struck a chord with Brits, and peaked at #2 in the UK charts in December 1998.
Annie, the loveable orphan goes about her chores with a leap in their step and this song of hope in their hearts.

2. Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar

Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III burst onto the hip-hop scene as MC Aloe Blacc and dominated the worldwide pop charts last year with his catchy ditty about being broke, which is still the anthem for our times.

3. Ray Charles – I’m Busted

It’s 2 minutes and 5 seconds of raw blues genius that is as relevant today as in 1963 when Ray Charles was faced with a big stack of bills that got bigger each day and laid down this track. Ray used to play the Ritz Theatre in LaVilla for $4 a night. He sings: “My bills are all due and the baby needs shoes and I’m busted.”

4. Phil Collins – Another Day In Paradise

This track was the first release from Phil Collins’ But Seriously 1989 album, and was written to bring attention to the problem of homelessness. The song was a number-one hit worldwide, and the most successful song of his solo career. The song also won Best British Single at the 1990 Brit Awards. In America, it was the final number one single of the 1980s on the Billboard Hot 100.

5 Gwen Guthrie – Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent

Gwen’s lyrics intend to motivate her partner into being responsible for maintaining equality and financial stability, not the literal reading which suggests a man only needs finances to make a relationship work.

6 Elvis Presley – In the Ghetto

Elvis’ 1969 track is a narrative of a generational poverty: a boy child is born to a mother who already has more children than she can feed in the ghetto of Chicago, the boy grows up hungry, steals and fights, buys a gun and steals a car, attempts to run, but is shot and killed just as his own son is born, with the implication that the newborn’s fate will be the same as his father’s and the circle unbroken.

7. Pulp – Common People

This song by English alternative rock band Pulp was released as a single in 1995, reaching number two on the UK singles chart. It also appears on the band’s 1995 album Different Class. The song is about those who were perceived by the songwriter as wanting to be “like common people” and who ascribe glamour to poverty.

8. The Beatles – Taxman

The opening track from the Fab Four’s iconic Revolver album. Penned by the ‘quiet Beatle’, George Harrison, it is a catchy and loudly acidic answer to the Inland Revenue’s Super Tax introduced at the time and which George felt targeted artists, who were already contributing a lot to the British economy.

9. The White Stripes – Bone Broke

Jack White III’s ode to being down to the bass tacks of your behind features from the Detroit duo’s last release Icky Thump and the beautiful blues makes you want to dance about how you can’t even afford to spend a penny.

10. Bill Withers – Lean On Me

We finish on a high, with Soul legend Bill’s anthem to friendship. Hailing from a poor mining town, the crooner knew that sometimes to get through the hard times you have to rely on your friends.

Please leave your money-saving tips and any songs we have missed from the broke ass play list in the comments section below.