GOD BLESS THE CHILD

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
GOD BLESS THE CHILD
“God Bless the Child” is a song written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog Jr. in 1939,
first recorded on May 9, 1941 under the Okeh label. Holiday’s version of the song was
honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1976. It was also included in the list of
Songs of the Century, by the Recording Industry of America and the National
Endowment for the Arts.
In her autobiography Lady Sings the Blues Holiday indicated an argument with her
mother over money led to the song. She indicated that during the argument she said the
line “God bless the child that’s got his own.” The anger over the incident led her to turn
that line into a starting point for a song, which she worked out in conjunction with
Herzog. In Jazz Singing Will Friedwald indicates it as “sacred and profane” as it
references the Bible while indicating that religion seems to have no effect in making
people treat each other better. The lyrics refer to a Biblical verse, probably Luke 19:26.
Yes, the strong gets more
While the weak ones fade
Empty pockets don’t ever make the grade
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child
that’s got his own
That’s got his own
Money, you’ve got lots of friends
Crowding round the door
When you’re gone, spending ends
They don’t come no more
Rich relations give
Crust of bread and such
You can help yourself
But don’t take too much
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child
that’s got his own
That’s got his own
Mama may have, Papa may have
But God bless the child
that’s got his own
That’s got his own
He just worry ’bout nothin’
Cause he’s got his own