Artist: Dire Straits
Writers: Mark Knopfler, Sting
Top Billboard Hot 100 position: 1
At the peak of MTV's 1980s popularity, Dire Straits scored a monster hit with this tongue-in-cheek tune and video about mega-rich pop stars getting "Money for nothin' and chicks for free."
The lyrics quote a conversation singer/songwriter Mark Knopfler had with a New York appliance store worker as they watched MTV on the store's wall of television screens.
To earn a lousy buck, our blue-collar hero gripes about installing microwave ovens and moving refrigerators while the rock star "yo-yos" on MTV simply play guitar and maybe get a blister on their little finger, maybe get a blister on their thumb.
And as we all know, "That ain't workin', that's the way you do it."
Fun fact: Guest backing vocalist Sting's famed "I want my MTV" line uses the same melody as The Police hit "Don't Stand So Close to Me." Sting’s contribution earned him a songwriting credit.