Sting Admits He Didn’t Expect Dire Straits ‘Money For Nothing’ Would Be A Hit

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Mark Knopfler recently posted a small clip from a documentary of Sir George Martin’s AIR Studios in Montserrat and talked about the formation of ‘Money For Nothing.’ In the clip, Sting admitted that he hadn’t thought the song would be a big hit.

‘Money For Nothing’ was released in Dire Straits’ 1985 album ‘Brothers in Arms.’ The song featured Sting adding background vocals to the track and became a huge hit during that year. It was number one on US Billboard Hot 100 and Top Rock Tracks for three weeks and won Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal after the 1985 Live Aid performance.

Mark Knopfler, a member of Dire Strait, told the story of how Sting was included in the track and what made him think about including him. He stated that he was inspired by an ad on MTV made by The Police and figured that Sting would be good in the song. 

Here is what he said in the video:

“I’d seen on MTV The Police doing an ad for it, and I thought ‘well if I stick that to ‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me’ those notes, that would fit.’ We were recording ‘Money For Nothing,’ and I said to somebody ‘I wish Sting was here’ and somebody said ‘Well he is here, he is on holiday’ and I said that’s great I told him ‘great, get him up here’ Cause I can hear him singing on this thing. Sting came up to the studio, we already had the track in place. So he just sang it.”

Sting didn’t think that the song would be a hit. He stated that he thought the song was ‘okay’ but he stated that later, he was very proud of being included and regarded the situation as ‘being in the right place at the right time.’ 

Here is what he fully said:

“Trudy said to me ‘you know, that’s going to be such a huge hit.’ I said ‘umm… I don’t know, that’s okay.’ Of course, it was the biggest hit of that year and so I was very proud to be on that but, it is a pure function of being in the right place at the right time.

The lyrics of the song are important because it is from the view of working-class men watching MTV and making comments. With Sting’s inclusion his background vocals state ‘I want my MTV’ referring to the industry. On its YouTube video, the fans commented that the guitar solo is like heaven and that the ‘I want my MTV’ line will forever be in their minds. 

You can listen to the song below.