You know exactly what the money note is when you hear it, don’t you?
That crescendo of a song like a rogue volcano quickly rising and exploding.
Who knew the term came from a meeting with Barbra Streisand.
Whitney Houston and Carrie Underwood hitting the money note after the jump.
This stuff is just good, y’all.
The money note is the moment in Whitney Houston’s version of the Dolly Parton song “I Will Always Love You” at the beginning of the third rendition of the chorus: pause, drum beat, and then “IIIIIIEEEEEEIIIIII will always LOVE you.” It is the moment in the Celine Dion song from Titanic, “My Heart Will Go On”: the key change that begins the third verse, a note you can hear a hundred times and it still brings you up short in the supermarket and transports you from the price of milk to a world of grand romantic gesture—You’re here There’s nothing I fear. David Foster, the producer of Whitney’s version of “I Will Always Love You” and a contemporary master of the pop ballad, claims that he coined the phrase “the money note” during a session with Barbra Streisand. “Barbra had hit this high note,” he says, “and she wanted to know how it sounded, because although you’d think Barbra was real confident, she’s not. And I said, ‘That sounds like money!’ I don’t mean money in the crass sense of ‘That will make a lot of money!’ although that’s certainly part of it. I meant ‘expensive.’ It sounded expensive.”
-John Seabrook, The Song Machine