A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 11, 2011
“Money doesn’t talk, it swears”

"Money talks” (meaning that money has influence) is an old financial saying, cited in print in various forms to before 1700. Bob Dylan’s 1964 song, “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” contains the lyrics “money doesn’t talk, it swears.” Dylan’s lyric line has been included in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations and in the Columbia Dictionary of Quotations.

“Money doesn’t talk, it swears” means that money not only has influence, but it has great influence, even a perverse influence.

“Money doesn’t talk, it screams” is sometimes mistaken for Dylan’s “swears.” The “screams” version predates the “swears” version.


Wikipedia: It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
“It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” is a song written and performed by Bob Dylan and first released on his 1965 album, Bringing It All Back Home. It was written in the summer of 1964, first performed live on October 10, 1964, and recorded on January 15, 1965. Described by Dylan biographer Howard Sounes as a “grim masterpiece,” the song features some of Dylan’s most memorable lyrical images. Among the well-known lines sung in the song are “Money doesn’t talk, it swears,” “Although the masters make the rules, for the wisemen and the fools” and “But even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked.” The lyrics express Dylan’s anger at hypocrisy, commercialism, consumerism, warmongers and contemporary American culture, but unlike his earlier protest songs, “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” does not express optimism in the possibility of political solutions.
(...)
Influence
Another example is the line “Money doesn’t talk, it swears,” which appears in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. In addition, the Columbia Dictionary of Quotations lists this as well as three other lines from the song: “Although the masters make the rules, for the wisemen and the fools,” “But even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked” and “Everything from toy guns that spark to flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark, it’s easy to see without looking too far that not much is really sacred.”

Bob Dylan song lyrcis
It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
(...)
Old lady judges watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare
While money doesn’t talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony

AllExperts: Dylan, Bob/Money doesn’t talk, it swears
ANSWER: Money talks: meaning it has influence; makes things happen....Money doesn’t talk, it swears! Meaning it not only has influence, it is loud and obscene and makes things happen faster. Money has more power than just talking. Hope that helps.

24 April 1965, Oregonian (Portland, OR), “Baez, Dylan Inspire 3,500 Portland Fans” by Jack Berry, pg. 11, col. 6:
Dylan was perhaps best on a song which said some harsh things about our nationalistic self-righteousness. It was applauded throughout by the young audience. The kids are engaged. Another of his lines sticks in my mind: “Money doesn’ttalk, it swears.”

OCLC WorldCat
Money doesn’t talk, it swears : the saga of radical economic development proposals in Oakland
Author: John F Keilch; Edward M Kirshner
Publisher: 1976 Dec.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

Google Books
The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia
By Michael Gray
New York, NY: Continuum Internat. Publ.
2006
Pg. 464:
One of Dylan’s best-remembered lines of the 1960s is that snarl from ‘It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)’, that ‘Money doesn’t talk, it swears.’ But while this spin on the phrase ‘money talks’ is Dylan’s, the notion of making such a spin comes down through the blues from even further back, in black-face vaudeville. A Victor catalogue of ‘Darky ditties’ from around 1903 contains, in the category ‘Comic And Coon Songs by Arthur Collins’, one called ‘If Money Talks, It Ain’t On Speaking Terms With Me’; years later the same idea had migrated into an early blues that begins ‘I can’t make a nickel, I’m flat as I can be / Some people say money is talking, but it won’t say a word to me.’

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Monday, April 11, 2011 • Permalink