God Bless’ the Child                                                                   Billy Holiday, Blood Sweat and Tears

In her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, Billie Holiday tells about growing up on the streets of Harlem, where she learned firsthand about prostitution, drugs and the blues.  She also learned the special meaning of the proverb “God blesses the child that’s got his own,” a black variation of “God helps those who helps himself.”  In 1941, when she was on the brink of stardom, she and Arthur Herzog Jr. Made this the basis of a song – one which was rendered especially poignant by Billie’s own singing.  Billie died in 1959, but in the late 60’s Aretha Franklin revived her song, followed by other black stylists and numerous young folk singers.  In 1969 it reached its biggest audience when it was included in an LP by Blood, Sweat and Tear that sold more than three million copies.

                             F                  Bb                               F                  Bb
Them that’s got shall get, them that’s not shall lose,
                Cm7    F9                     Cm7     F9
So the Bible said, and it still is news;
Bb                                   Bbm                                         Am7                         D7-9                Gm7                  C7/G   
Mama may have, Papa may have, / But God Bless’ the child that’s got his own!
C7-5/Gb  F                        Dm        Gm7     C11
That’s  got his own.

                    F                       Bb                              F                      Bb
Yes, the strong gets more, while the weak ones fade,
                Cm7          F9                   Cm7             F9
Empty pockets don’t ever make the grade;
Bb                                   Bbm                                        Am7                          D7-9                Gm7           C7/G      
Mama may have, Papa may have, / But God Bless’ the child that’s got his own!
C7-5/Gb  F/C                  F7-5/Bnatural     Bb7       A7
That’s  got his own.
Dm            Dm(M7)   Dm7      Dm6          Am              Am(M7)        Am7      Am6
Money, you got lots o’ friends, crowdin’ ‘round the door,
Dm                        Dm(M7)      Dm7            Dm6    Am7                D7-9               Db9    C9
When you’re gone and spendin’ ends, they don’t come no more.
            F                  Bb                         F                      Bb                          Cm7             F9                          Cm7           F9
Rich relations give, crust of bread and such, You can help yourself, but don’t take too much!
Bb                                   Bbm                                        Am7                          D7-9                 Gm7                C7/G
Mama may have, Papa may have, / But God Bless’ the child that’s got his own!
C7-5/Gb  EbM9      FM9
That’s  got his own.