Being poor sucks, and that’s exactly the state many of these musicians found themselves in when they wrote these songs about being poor. Whatever you call money: Paper, green, cabbage, it’s something people need to survive and thrive in the world. Consider these songs about being broke a guide to leaving poverty behind, or maybe a look into the vicious cycle that plagues so many. But while the characters in these songs about being poor may suffer from lack of funds, this list is definitely musically rich.
“Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” was a hit for Jay-Z, a chronicle of his life in the streets and his road to the top of the rap game. “No Woman, No Cry” is one of Bob Marley’s best known songs, portrays his struggle of living in poverty in Jamaica, consoling the woman he loves.
Pulp’s “Common People” was inspired by frontman Jarvis Cocker befriending an upper class women who said she wanted to live like “common people,” or people without a lot of money. Cocker found her attitude unsavory and wrote the tune, which skewers class differences in Britain.
Which these songs about being poor make you feel rich when you hear them? Vote for your favorites! If there’s a song about being poor you love that isn’t on this list, please enrich it by adding it.
1 48 24
2 42 21 I Need a Dollar Aloe Blacc, The Saturdays
3 25 18 Common People Pulp
4 11 5 Tom Islava added Man in the Mirror Michael Jackson
5 17 12 Coal Miner's Daughter Loretta Lynn
6 14 12 Poor Poor Pitiful Me Linda Ronstadt
7 9 7 Help the Poor Eric Clapton, B.B. King
8 6 4 Poor Slave Jimmy Cliff
9 14 13 No Woman No Cry Bob Marley
10 11 10 I Pity the Poor Immigrant Bob Dylan
11 6 5 Poor House Traveling Wilburys
12 6 5 Poor Baby Roy Orbison
13 5 4 Poor Me Fats Domino
14 7 7 Mr. Banker Lynyrd Skynyrd
15 7 7 Poor Little Lamb Tom Waits
16 3 3 Tommy Tindall added Don't Worry, Be Happy Holly Dolly -