An '80s economic lesson, courtesy of Canada's Barney Bentall
Whether you worked part-time or full-time in the '80s, how much per hour did you make? Four dollars an hour? Does that sound like a ripoff? Well it wasn't all about money in those days, sometimes we just needed Something To Live For - if you don't agree just listen to Barney Bentall.
Okay, Barney is not the greatest name for a rock star as the name Barney in the '80s was likely to conjure up images of Barney Fife, Barney Rubble or Barney Miller as thankfully Barney the Dinosaur didn't exist until 1992. Despite the name Barney, Canadian Barney Bentall teamed with his backing band, the Legendary Hearts, to woo North America with great rockers like Something To Live For.
Something To Live For was Bentall's first charting single as it hit No. 17 on the Canadian charts in 1987. In this Springsteen-like song, Bentall tells the story of Bobby, an 28-year-old dreamer living at home making $4 an hour and just wanting something more out of life. In the U.S., the minimum wage was $3.35 per hour from 1981 to 1989 and was raised to $3.80 in 1990, so actually Bobby was making some decent coin, although I'm not sure what the Canadian exchange rate was in 1987. The current minimum wage is $7.25 and has been in place since 2009.
Bentall and the Legendary Hearts would end up having 10 Canadian Top 40 hits in their career with most occurring in the '90s. Bentall still performs year round and is even going to be in Rio next week performing while the Olympics are taking place.