Music Mondays: Brother can you spare a dime

For Jim…

Tom Waits: Brother can you spare a dime

Odetta and Dr John: Brother can you spare a dime


Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?“, also sung as “Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?“, is one of the best-known American songs of the Great Depression. Written in 1931 by lyricist E. Y. “Yip” Harburg and composer Jay Gorney, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” was part of the 1932 musical New Americana;the melody is based on a Russian lullaby Gorney heard as a child. It became best known, however, through recordings by Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallee. Both versions were released right before Franklin Delano Roosevelt‘s election to the presidency and both became number one hits on the charts. The Brunswick Crosby recording became the best-selling record of its period, and came to be viewed as an anthem of the shattered dreams of the era.

Published in: on December 6, 2010 at 8:35 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. A great tune! Imho the Crosby version beats all. Yip Harburgh was a good leftie who also wrote the music for The Wizard of Oz. The “Brother”/”Buddy” minor key tune is very similar to “Russian Lullaby” “Blue Skies”, both by another Jewish immigrant composer, Irving Berlin.

  2. Can’t believe you omitted the George Michael version.

    I demand a stewards enquiry.

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