"Big Money" Causes Big Problems

Dan Sheridan, a singer-songwriter in Aspen, was fired then rehired after performing a song about Aspen's shift from a ski bum town to a luxury resort village.
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Aspen Town at Night

For the past 22 years, Dan Sheridan, a singer-songwriter who plays his low-key folk songs in the bars and restaurants around Aspen, has watched his ski town evolve. The cars are nicer, the coats are furrier, and getting in as many runs as possible has given way to lavish mornings at the spa. Like any musician would, he wrote a song about it.

When Sheridan played his tune, “Big Money,” for a crowd at Sneaky’s Tavern on New Year's Eve, not everyone agreed with his sentiment. An Aspen Skiing Co. executive in the audience complained and got Sheridan fired, a reaction that is proving not to be uncommon in this economic climate. Dollars are down for many resorts, and executives are jumpy about any negative publicity.

SkiCo later admitted that their reaction was hasty and severe and gave him back his job—and requested that he not play “Big Money” anymore at SkiCo establishments or events. "It was a miscommunication followed by a hasty overreaction," SkiCo spokesman Jeff Hanle said during an interview with the Aspen Daily News

Listen to the song

Big Money Lyrics

By Dan Sheridan

Well I was walking my dog 
down the old walking trail
When I ran into a post-it sign 
of pending future sale
Some Hollywood mogul 
who feels he should
Build a mansion in the mountains 
his cabin in the woods.

They come here from Miami, 
they come here from LA
They bring a part of the city, 
that’ll never go away
Like a fear of strangers, accelerated time
Sound of car alarms 
in a town without crime
Like plain wooden fences, 
controlled security
Setting up borders 
where they never used to be

Down in the graves 
you can hear the miners say
Big money ruins everything

Well it happened in Aspen
And down in Santa Fe
It happens everywhere 
when the locals move away
They can’t afford to live here, 
they can’t afford the rent
Unless they win the lottery 
or live in a tent
I think big money sucks
Please write that down
Please take a look 
what it did to this town
Trophy houses, trophy wives, 
trophy people leading trophy lives.
Down in the graves 
you can hear the miners say
Big money ruins everything

Say goodbye to all the artists 
and people who can ski
Say hello to private golf clubs 
and elective surgery

Well I think I’ll build a billboard
At the entrance of this town
If you’re here to prove how rich you are
Please just turn around
Please turn around, high tail and run
You’ve probably already ruined 
where you’re coming from

So I went into the hardware store
But it has been replaced
By a boutique for trophy wives
With a reconstructed face
And it only sells handbags
Stuff you’ll never need
Like fine Italian shoes
And tasteful jewelry

So we blame it on the landlords
Blame it all on greed
Blame it on the excess
Of the nouveau riche

Down in the graves 
you can hear the miners say
Big money ruins everything
How did this happen
How did it occur
Women driving Hummers
Men wearing fur
Now I sing at corporate parties
Make ‘em feel like a kid
Because I play acoustic guitar
Just like John Denver did
But they don’t listen to my words
Words that I’m singing
I’m hear to fill the void
Between cell phones ringing

I recently found a letter
That I wrote to myself
Said Man if you get old and bitter
Better move somewhere else

I ain’t going nowhere
Won’t give up on this town
Won’t give up on my friends
Who somehow stick around

Down in the graves 
you can hear the miners say
Big money ruins everything
Big money ruins everything

Women at the Caribou
With liposuction hips
And in the name of balance
They re-inflate their lips

Down in the graves 
you can hear the miners say
Big money ruins everything
Big money ruins everything
Big money ruins everything
Big money ruins everything


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