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"For the Love of Money" is a soul/funk song written by Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff, and Anthony Jackson; and recorded by Philadelphia soul group The O'Jays for the album Ship Ahoy. Produced by Gamble and Huff for Philadelphia International Records, "For the Love of Money" was issued as a single in late 1973 , with "People Keep Tellin' Me" as its b-side. The single peaked at number three on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart, and at #9 on Billboard's Pop Singles chart in spring 1974. Though the album version of the song was over seven minutes long, it received substantial radio airplay. The song's title comes from a well-known Bible verse, 1 Timothy 6:10: "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (King James Version).
Anthony Jackson played bass guitar on the song. One day during fall 1973, producer/keyboardist Leon Huff was leading the members of the MFSB rhythm section and Jackson through a rehearsal. Sigma Sound Studios owner/engineer Joe Tarsia noticed that Jackson had a wah-wah pedal attached to his Fender Precision Bass. Tarsia decided to run Jackson's basslinethrough a phaser, giving it a swishing sound and later mixed in echo. During the final mixing of the track, Kenny Gamble impulsively reached over to the echo button and added echo to Jackson's opening riffs.
- The song was covered by Disco Dub Band in 1976.
- The song was covered by Todd Rundgren's band Utopia on their 1982 album Swing to the Right.
- The song was covered by the funk-punk outfit Defunkt on their 1982 album Thermonuclear Sweat.
- A cover version recorded by Erroll Starr was nominated for the 1987 Juno Award for "Best R&B/Soul Recording" (see Juno Awards of 1987).
- It was covered by BulletBoys on their eponymous 1988 album, and a video was made for the song.
- A medley of "For the Love of Money" and Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City" was recorded by Troop, LeVert, and Queen Latifah. The medley is featured prominently in Mario Van Peebles' 1991 film New Jack City, and appears on the film's soundtrack.
- The song was covered by Katey Sagal, and features on her 2004 album Room.
- The Backstreet Boys recorded a version of this song for their Never Gone album, but it was not released.
- The song was covered by Queensrÿche on their 2009 album Take Cover.