There’s few things that soothe your soul the way Lady Day, aka Billie Holiday and her soulful voice do. “God Bless The Child” is one of her most memorable songs. It also has the distinction of being a song that Billie wrote herself, with the help of her friend Arthur Herzog, Jr. This may seem commonplace, but at the time much of her catalog consisted of covers or what were referred to as standards. The other beautiful thing about this amazingly talented woman is that she never sang a song the same way twice. You can find many different versions of this song, but listen to what is this journalist’s favorite performance:
Apparently the song stemmed from an argument Billie had with her mother over money, when her mother told her, “God bless the child that’s got it’s own,” meaning good for anybody who’s got their own money or are able to support themselves. It’s also been debated as being both religious and profane, since it paraphrases the Bible, yet gives the impression that despite this book of ways to live, people rarely heed its advice. Socio-political posturing aside, it’s a fantastic, mellow song with a passionate trumpet solo. It’s the sort of song that’s great for early mornings or sensual evenings with a loved one.
Plus, it was brought back into the public’s consciousness when it was featured prominently in soundtrack to the hit game BioShock. It fit the mood of the dreary half-dead city perfectly and probably created a few new fans of Lady Day. And that is certainly never a bad thing.
Written By Jarad Matula
OurVinyl | Senior Writer