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Top 10 Songs About Paying Taxes

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The late Hunter Thompson wrote, "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."

Money and taxes have long been popular themes for rock stars who had too much of both. As you prepare to prepare your tax return, cue up some of these odes to having too little money, too many taxes, and not too much regard for The Man.

"Taxman" - The Beatles

Capitol Records
If you drive a car, I'll tax the street;
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat;
If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat;
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.

"Taxman" was one of three songs on The Beatles' Revolver album that were written by George Harrison. Although most of us can't relate to what inspired the song -- the tax burden on people who earn too much money -- we can relate to the underlying theme.

"Money" - Pink Floyd

Capitol Records
Money, it's a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.

Pink Floyd's "Money" may not rate high on your financial planner's Top 10, but it's great for getting psyched to file your tax return. The song is part of the concept album, The Dark Side Of The Moon, released in 1973.

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"Movin' Out" - Billy Joel

Columbia Legacy
You can pay Uncle Sam with overtime
Is that all you get for your money?

Don't have a heart attack-ack-ack, but Billy Joel actually wrote "Movin' Out" not to protest paying taxes, but to express disdain for the conventional definitions of success and achievement. The song if from Joel's 1977 album, The Stranger.

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"I'd Rather Be Rich" - Chicago

Warner Strategic Marketing
I'd rather be rich, the truth of cash is tragic,
The system's a bitch, but money works like magic.

While Billy Joel decried success, Chicago seemed to embrace it with "I'd Rather Be Rich." Robert Lamm's lyrics espoused the theory that everything's okay if you have enough money. The song appeared on Chicago XXIV in 1980.

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"Sunny Afternoon" - The Kinks

Universal Music Group
The tax man's taken all my dough,
And left me in my stately home,
Lazing on a sunny afternoon.
And I can't sail my yacht,
He's taken everything I've got,
All I've got's this sunny afternoon.

Like "Taxman," The Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon" deals with the money woes of those poor unfortunate rich folks. During the time Ray Davies wrote the song (for the band's 1966 Face To Face album) the band was having legal problems, maintaining a killer tour schedule, and dealing with the temporary replacement of bassist Pete Quaife, who was seriously injured in a wreck. Perhaps that may explain the negative attitude about success.

 

"Low Budget" - The Kinks

Koch Records
I'm on a low budget
I'm not cheap, you understand
I'm just a cut price person in a low budget land
Excuse my shoes they don't quite fit
They're a special offer and they hurt me a bit
Even my trousers are giving me pain
They were reduced in a sale so I shouldn't complain

Given the number of songs they recorded on the subject, one gets the idea that money was something of an obsession for the Kinks. "Low Budget" - from the 1979 album of the same name - is about the difficulty of living within one's means.

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"Success Story" - The Who

Universal Special Products
Away for the weekend
I've gotta play some one-night stands
Six for the tax man, and one for the band

John Entwistle's "Success Story" - from The Who's 1975 The Who By Numbers -took a jab at the Who's success, and how it took the fun out of playing music.

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"Lap of Luxury" - Jethro Tull

Chrysalis Records

The money won't last forever.
Rent man called twice today.
I hope some day you'll find me
In the lap of luxury.

I need money, now, to soothe my heart!

Buy me a Datsun or Toyota ---
get the tax man to agree
all expenses I can muster
from the lap of luxury.

The eternal quest for more than we have is the theme of Jethro Tull's "Lap of Luxury," the lead track on Tull's 1984 album, Under Wraps.

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"Carnival World" - Jimmy Buffett

Geffen Records

But talk is cheap
It takes money to buy your freedom
And the tax man's knockin' on your door

Spend it while you can, money's contraband
You can't take it with you when you go.
Spend it while you can, before it's taken from your hand,
There's no free ride in this carnival world.

Leave it to Jimmy Buffett to take a cynical view of the power of money. In "Carnival World" money is the root of everything BUT evil. (From the 1989 album, Off To See The Lizard)

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"Money Money Money" - ABBA

Universal Motown Records Group
I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay
Ain't it sad
And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me
That's too bad

At the time ABBA recorded "Money Money Money" in 1976, they had plenty plenty plenty of it. The song, however, deals with what its like to be poor "in a rich man's world." The song first appeared on Arrival in 1976.

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