These big daddies of music all had something to say about money.

4 minute read

As another Father’s Day power-tools its way into the chaos of 2022, the usual quotes on money from Founding Fathers such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams just seem too tame.

But there are other fathers out there too – music icons famous for being one of the “fathers” of their music genre.

1. Bob Marley, Father of Reggae

Illustration by Ivan Benavides.

“Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end.” – Bob Marley

Bob Marley (1945-1981), a Jamaican singer, musician, and songwriter, was a global ambassador for Reggae music and a believer in the religious and political Rastafari Movement. Marley was an advocate for social justice and political change, selling more than 20 million records throughout his career before his untimely death from cancer at the age of 36.

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2. James Brown, Godfather of Soul

Illustration by Ivan Benavides.

“I got a wife who likes expensive things, so she takes all the cash.” – James Brown

James Brown (1933-2006), the “Godfather of Soul” and “The Hardest-Working Man in Show Business” grew up in the rural South during the Great Depression. In 1986, Brown was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

3. Elvis Presley, One of the Fathers of Rock ′n′ Roll

Illustration by Ivan Benavides.

“I don’t regard money or position as important. But I can never forget the longing to be someone. I guess if you are poor, you always think bigger and want more than those who have everything when they are born.” – Rock ′n′ Roll: Forever Elvis, Time Magazine, May 7, 1965

Elvis Presley (1935-1977), known as the “King of Rock ′n′ Roll” gyrated to fame in the 1950s, making lots of great music along with several popular movies, including Jailhouse Rock, Viva Las Vegas and Blue Hawaii. Elvis enjoyed great fame and popularity until his untimely death at the age of 42 from heart failure associated with drug addiction.

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4. Johnny Cash, One of the Fathers of Country

Illustration by Ivan Benavides.

“Success is having to worry about every damn thing in the world – except money.” – Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash (1932-2003) also known as “The Man in Black,” was one of the most prolific and respected country singer-songwriters of all time. Cash, who wrote more than 1,000 songs and had an I.Q. of 160, struggled at the height of his career with drug addiction but turned his life around and restarted his career after he married his touring partner June Carter.

Find out: 25 Inspirational and Funny Money Quotes From Some of Hollywood’s Most Famous

5. Muddy Waters, Father of Chicago Blues

Illustration by Ivan Benavides.

“There was a time when I had the blues. I mean I had it really bad. I couldn’t pay my light bill, and I couldn’t pay my rent, and I really had the blues. But today I can pay my rent, and I can pay the light bill, and I still got the blues. So I must have been born with them. That’s my religion. The blues is my religion.” – Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters (1915-1983) is often called the “Father of Chicago Blues.” Chicago blues emerged as a new electrified style of blues music after the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the industrial cities of the North. Waters, who received six Grammys during his lifetime, was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

6. Pete Seeger, Father of American Folk Music

Illustration by Ivan Benavides.

“I write a song because I want to. I think the moment you start writing it to make money, you’re starting to kill yourself artistically.” – Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger (1919-2014), often referred to as the “Father of American Folk Music,” dropped out of Harvard University in 1938 to travel and perform with fellow folk singer Woody Guthrie. Seeger, a lifelong advocate for social justice, was blacklisted during McCarthyism for his left-wing views. Seeger was eventually honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

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7. Woody Guthrie, Father of American Protest Music

Illustration by Ivan Benavides.

“If we fix it so’s you can’t make money on war, we’ll all forget what we’re killing folks for.” — Lyric from “Stetson Kennedy,” Guthrie’s songwriting tribute to Stetson Kennedy, a human rights, justice and nature advocate and Guthrie’s longtime friend.

Woody Guthrie (1912-1967), known as the “Father of Protest Music,” was an American folk singer and songwriter who wrote songs about the common and displaced people, including “Okies” migrating from the Great Plains to California during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. “This Land is Your Land” is one of Guthrie’s most well-known songs.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

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