God Bless The Child – Billie Holiday

June 3, 2022

Today’s song “God Bless The Child” is inspired by a disagreement between Billie Holiday and her mother. The singer explains that she had lent her mother to open a restaurant. However, her mother, Sadie, declined to loan her any money when she was in need years later. After this unfolding, the singer’s anger led her to write the song, “God Bless The Child.” 

Holiday worked in conjunction with Herzog to write the lyrics for the song.

Fun Facts: 

  • Holiday opens this award-winning song with an interpretation of a verse from Matthew 25:29 or Luke 8:18. The verse she was referring to after the argument remains unspecified. 
  • Okeh Records released “God Bless The Child” in 1942.
  • Holiday recorded the song on May 9, 1941.
  • The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) included “God Bless The Child” to the list of the songs of the century.
  • Holiday interprets the song in her autobiography.
  • Many people released cover songs after Holiday’s death.
  • Blood, Sweat & Tears did a cover that won the Grammy for Album of the year in 1969.

Lyrics

Them that’s got shall have

Them that’s not shall lose

So the Bible said

 and it still is news

Mama may have,

 Papa may have

But God bless the child that’s got his own

That’s got his own

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

Yes he’s got his own

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