It's the song--and music video--that would all but define the original '80s MTV generation. Released in June 1985 as the first single from the band's fifth studio album, Brothers in Arms, "Money for Nothing" went on to become the biggest hit in Dire Straits' career. It rocketed up the charts to peak at #1 on the Hot 100 for the week of September 21, 1985. It held the #1 spot for three total weeks.
"The lead character in 'Money for Nothing' is a guy who works in the hardware department in an appliance store," guitarist Mark Knopfler told said in an interview. "He's singing the song. I wrote the song when I was actually in the store. I borrowed a bit of paper and started to write the song down in the store. I wanted to use a lot of the language that the real guy actually used when I heard him, because it was more real. It just went better with the song, it was more muscular."
As for the song's legendary music video, it took the band's leader, Mark Knopfler a while to sign off on it. Label execs finally had to track him down backstage at a show in Budapest to pressure him into the clip. "Luckily, his girlfriend said, 'He's absolutely right. There aren't enough interesting videos on MTV, and that sounds like a brilliant idea,'" the video's director Steve Barron told Promo magazine in 2006. "Mark didn't say anything, but he didn't make the call to get me out of Budapest. We just went ahead and did it."