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5 Great Songs About Being Broke

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Songs about being broke

If you’ve been following the site lately, you’ve noticed that we’ve started doing some band interviews.  In the past month or so we’ve interviewed The Dodos, Sleepy Sun, and Girls in Trouble.  The reason for this is that pretty much everyone who is in a band was a broke-ass at one point and some of them still are.  This got me thinking about all the great songs about being broke and I decided to put together a list of five of my favorite.  So here they are in no particular order.  Feel free to suggest some of your own in the comment area.

Gregory Issacs – Loving Pauper:

Wow this dude fucking nailed it!  How many of you cats have been in relationships where you’re like, “Well, I can’t afford to buy you shit, But I’l love the fuck out of you for sure.”  Just peep my man Gregory’s lyrics”

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I’m not in a position to maintain you,
the way that you’re accustomed to,
Can’t take you out to fancy places,
Like other fellows that I know can do,
I’m only able to romance you,
& make you tingle with delight,
Financially, I’m a pauper,
but when it comes to lovin I’m alright.
Alright alright

The Rolling Stones – Angie:

Alright sure, this is more of a break-up song that one about being broke, but you can obviously tell that not having any money added to the pressure that caused the break-up.  Check these lyrics:

With no loving in our souls and no money in our coats
You can’t say we’re satisfied
But Angie, Angie, you can’t say we never tried

See what I mean?

Otis Redding and Carla Thomas – Tramp:

Aw man this is such a classic!  Otis made SO much good music. I love the part in this joint when Carla’s all “You don’t wear continental clothes, or Stetson hats.” and Otis says, “Well I tell you one dog-gone thing. It makes me feel good to know one thing. I know I’m a lover.”

Yeah, I love this song.  Too bad this is the only video I could find.

Richie Cunning – One dollar Wonder:

This is my theme song.  No really it is.  If you don’t know about Richie Cunning you do now!  The song starts at about the 1:30 mark of the video.

Brother Ali – Faheem:

Technically this is a song about Brother Ali explaining to his son why he divorced the kid’s mother.  But but the lyrics (like many of Ali’s lyrics) touch upon how broke he was and how that helped fire him up to get where he is now. See:

I just pray that you don’t remember us sleepin on the floor
And me cleanin mouse droppings out of your toys
It took alot of hard work for us to get where we at

Now it’s your turn.  What are some of your favorite songs about being broke?

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.


  1. Joe K
    November 11, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Arthur Conley – Take Me (Just As I Am)

    Bettye LaVette – I Do Not Want What I Have Not Got

    Goodie Mob – I Refuse Limitation (CeeLo’s verse)

    Jaheim – Fabulous

    Common – Chapter 13 (Rich Man vs. Poor Man)

  2. November 13, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    A whole bunch of years ago I had a subscription to a skate magazine. One of the issues came with a record as an insert. WILD I KNOW! So much better than those stinky cologne pages.

    Anyway the record was amazing and I haven’t been able to find the band. It was a garage band… Lyrics said:

    “Everybody say’s they want a million bucks… but I’d rather have a million days with you. A million days with you would go by so fast!”

  3. […] *Updated from 5 Great Songs About Being Broke […]

  4. Mary
    March 18, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar

  5. Mikesupertramp
    March 18, 2013 at 10:51 am

    Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar
    I must question the authors research.

    • Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap
      March 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

      To be fair @Mikesupertramp, the post is a few years old, but I just came upon it again recently so I decided to repost it. Aloe Blacc hadn’t released his joint when I wrote it.

  6. Suzanne
    March 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

    There’s the old standby, Try A Little Tenderness. Beautiful song about how love and affection are more important than money!

  7. Mikesupertramp
    March 18, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I stand corrected, sir.