Billie Holiday

God Bless the Child

Composed by Arthur Herzog, Jr. / Billie Holiday

Song Review by

Undoubtedly Billie Holiday's signature song, "God Bless the Child" is indeed her most famous original song. A simple, eloquent parable on self-reliance and the karmic concept, it is one of the most moving songs of the 20th century. It has also influenced countless other songs, such as "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," among others, and maybe a large part of the early Laura Nyro songbook. Musically, simplicity is the key here, with a loose, bluesy melody that carries the verses along gracefully. The chorus, however, has one of the most engaging chord progressions of the period. This combination of ascending and descending chords creates an atmosphere and emotion that mirror the lyrics as appropriately as perhaps any song of the 20th century. Holiday's original from 1941 is the absolute blueprint, but the song has been covered successfully by dozens of artists, the most auspicious being Blood, Sweat & Tears' fine version, which went Top Ten in 1969. For fans of the song and only familiar with the covers, Billie Holiday's version must be experienced. Available on Columbia/Legacy's two-CD collection Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday, as well as the momentous ten-CD box Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Lady Sings the Blues 1956 Disky 2:56
Story 1959 MCA Jazz
The Essential Billie Holiday [Verve] 1961 Soho Latino
No Image 1967 Aris/GRP / Universal 3:10
No Image 1973 Columbia 2:52
No Image 1977 ITI
No Image 1980
Various Artists
Media Records
Don't Explain 1982 Jazz Hour 3:08
The Lady Billie Holiday: Complete Collection 1986 CBS/Sony
The Lady's Decca Days, Vol. 1 1988 MCA Jazz
At Monterey, 1958 1989 Black-Hawk 3:11
God Bless the Child [Columbia] 1990 Laserlight 2:46
No Image 1991
Various Artists
Prestige
Billie Holiday: The Legacy Box 1933-1958 1991 Legacy 3:00
I Like Jazz: The Essence of Billie Holiday 1991 Legacy / Sbme Special Mkts. 2:57
Your Hit Parade: 1941 1991
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
The Complete Original American Decca Recordings [GRP] 1992 GRP 2:57
The Complete Billie Holiday on Verve 1945-1959 1992 Verve / PolyGram 3:58
16 Most Requested Songs 1993 Columbia 2:59
Broadcast Performances, Vol. 4 1993 ESP-Disk 2:41
Great Entertainers [Intersound] 1993
Various Artists
Intersound 2:54
The Great Entertainers [#3] 1993
Various Artists
Intersound 2:59
No Image 1994 Pair
The Gold Collection [Deja Vu] 1995 Deja Vu 2:52
Jazz Classics [Triloka] 1995
Various Artists
Triloka 3:05
Lover Man [Prime Cuts] 1995 St. Clair / Prime Cuts 3:09
Jazz Divas [Boxsets 1995] 1995
Various Artists
Boxsets 2:48
Jazz Portrait 1995 TriStar Music 2:57
Those Fabulous Ladies of Jazz 1995
Various Artists
Jazz World 2:56
The Promised Land [Columbia] 1995
Original TV Soundtrack
Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 2:59
Golden Hits 1996 Intercontinental Records 3:06
God Bless the Child [K-Tel] 1996 K-Tel Distribution 2:52
American Legends #9: Billie Holiday 1996 Laserlight 3:59
Vol. 11: 1941-1942 1996 Masters of Jazz 3:00
Jazz Ladies [Delta] 1996
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 3:10
This Is Jazz, Vol. 15 1996 Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 2:54
Fine & Mellow [Collector/Magnum] 1996 Collector's Edition 3:19
Jazz You Like It 1996
Various Artists
Phantom Import Distribution
Love Me or Leave Me 1996 Hallmark Recordings 2:54
Platinum Collection: Ladies & Gentleman of Song 1996
Various Artists
Start 2:58
Blues Collection [Madacy Box] 1997
Various Artists
Madacy 3:07
Priceless Jazz 1997 GRP 3:15
Fabulous 40's 1997
Various Artists
Intersound 2:56
Billie Holiday: Members Edition 1997 Members Edition 2:53
Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 1997 Galaxy Music 3:05
The Ultimate Billie Holiday 1997 Verve / PolyGram / Universal 3:58
Revue Collection 1997 Revue 3:06
The Fabulous 40's [Disc 2] 1997
Various Artists
Intersound 2:56
The Classic Decade 1935-1945 1998 Prism Platinum 2:45
Gold Collection [Retro] 1998 Retro Music 2:57
Portrait of Billie Holiday 1998 Gallerie
Wonderful Music of Billie Holiday 1998 Bcd
The Great Billie Holiday [Goldies] 1998 Goldies
No Image 1998 Goldies
God Bless the Child [Golden Stars] 1998 Golden Stars
Fabulous Females 1998
Various Artists
Hallmark Recordings 2:54
Masters [Cleopatra] 1998 Cleopatra 2:56
Most Beautiful Melodies of the Century: Unforgettable 1999
Various Artists
Universal
Number One Jazz Album 1999
Various Artists
Polygram / Universal/Polygram
The Divas of the Millennium 1999
Various Artists
WMO (Netherlands) / Allegiance Records 3:10
No Image 1999 Sony Music Distribution 2:58
Sound & Sensation: Ladies Sing the Blues 1999
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:08
Forever Gold 1999 St. Clair 2:46
Best of Billie Holiday: 1935-1948 1999 Body & Soul
The Essential Billie Holiday [Metro] 1999 Metro / Metro 2:58
Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:55
Essential Jazz [Time Life] 1999
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:00
The Ultimate Grammy Box: From the Recording Academy's Collection 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:59
Lover Man: 1939-1944 1999 Jazzterdays (Netherlands)
Essential Jazz: Cool Classics 1999
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:00
The Best of Billie Holiday [Intersound] 2000 Intersound 2:57
20 Classic Tracks 2000 Cleopatra 2:56
Ladies Sing the Blues [Madacy 16 Tracks] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:08
A Woman's Voice [Polygram] 2000
Various Artists
UTV / Polygram 4:00
Great Jazz Singers 2000
Various Artists
EMI Classics 3:09
The Great Billie Holiday [Red X] 2000 Red X 2:58
Golden Legends 2000 Direct Source 2:48
High Profile 2000 Direct Source 2:50
Anthology 1944-1959 2000 Stardust Records / Cleopatra 3:11
Christmas Crooners [Delta] 2000
Various Artists
Union Square Music 3:03
Billie Holiday the Legend 2000 Legend 3:10
Lady Day [Golden Stars] 2000 Golden Stars 3:09
Ken Burns Jazz 2000 Verve 2:55
The Very Best of Billie Holiday [Universal] 2000 Universal / Universal International / Universal Music 3:08
No Regrets 2000 Recall (UK)
Summertime [Mastersound] 2000 Mastersound 2:44
Hits of the 50's, Vol. 2 [Legacy] 2001
Various Artists
Legacy 3:09
Pure Jazz [Polygram] 2001
Various Artists
UTV / PolyGram 3:59
Forever Gold: Women in Jazz 2001
Various Artists
Boxsets
No Image 2001 Cleopatra
The Billie Holiday Story [Chrome Dreams] 2001 Chrome Dreams
Songbook 2001 Jazz Factory 2:57
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:57
That's Jazz [Golden Stars] 2001
Various Artists
Golden Stars
Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday 2001 Columbia / Columbia/Legacy 2:56
Just Friends 2001 Jazzdoor 3:06
Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933-1944 2001 Sony Music Distribution 2:57
The Lady Sings [Proper] 2001 Proper Sales & Dist. / United States of Distribution 2:56
All Music Guide: The American Jazz Singers 2001
Various Artists
Medalist Entertainment 3:12
The Jazz Divas [Boxsets 2002] 2002
Various Artists
St. Clair 2:48
Singin' the Blues 2002 Universal Special Products 3:09
Jazz Collection: Billie Holiday and Friends 2002 Laserlight 3:10
1949-1951 2002 Classics 3:11
Blue Billie [Columbia] 2002 Columbia / Columbia/Legacy 2:56
Sine Vive le Jazz 2002
Various Artists
Frémeaux & Associés
Classic Jazz: Jazz Legends [Single Disc] 2002
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:01
Golden Greats [Disky] 2002 Disky
The Incomparable, Vol. 5 2002 Acrobat 2:43
Lady Sings the Blues [Past Perfect] 2002 International Music 2:59
You Got to My Head [Past Perfect] 2002 Past Perfect 3:11
No Image 2002
Various Artists
Red X 2:56
1935-1958 2003 Columbia
Jazz Masters 2003 Laserlight / Delta Distribution 3:10
Songs That Won The War: Stompin' at the Savoy 2003
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 3:05
The Diva 2003 Universal Distribution
The Voice of Jazz [Wesgram] 2003 Wesgram
Classic American Voices 2003 Direct Source 3:09
Women & Songs: Beginnings 2003
Various Artists
Warner Bros.
The No. 1 Jazz Album 2004 2003
Various Artists
Universal
Crooners and Divas [Box] 2003
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 3:10
Divas at Christmas 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:10
The Thirties and Forties 2004
Various Artists
Goldies
Good Morning Blues: The Complete Columbia Recordings (1933-1950) 2004 Universe 2:59
Jazz Moods: 'Round Midnight 2004 Legacy 2:54
Stray Cats Ball: No Dogs Allowed 2004
Various Artists
Cleopatra / Rock-A-Billy Records 4:37
Jeepers Creepers: The Ultimate Lady Day Best Songs 2004 Birdland 2:56
The World's Greatest Tribute to Janet Jackson 2004
Various Artists
Big Eye Music / Da Hype Records 3:41
Most Beautiful Jazz Voices 2004
Various Artists
Mastersong
Famous Jazz Singers: You Go to My Head 2004
Various Artists
Document / Classic Jazz Archive / Documents
The Complete 1945-1951 Studio Recordings Master Takes, Vol. 2: 1949-1951 2004 Blue Moon 3:10
Original American Songbook: 50 of the Greats 2005
Various Artists
WEA International 2:54
Romance in the Dark 2005 MSI Music Distribution / Membran Ltd. / Quadromania Klassik 2:56
No Image 2005
Various Artists
MRA
All of Me [Legacy] 2005 Legacy 2:53
The Ultimate Collection 2005 Hip-O 2:57
Remixed Hits 2005 Hypnotic 3:14
Green Eyes: Songs That Won the War 2005
Various Artists
Reader's Digest Music 2:36
Billie Holiday [Platinum Disc] 2005 Platinum Disc 3:05
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room 2005
Original Soundtrack
Commotion Records 3:59
Jukebox Hits 1935-1946 2005 Acrobat 2:46
Legends: Jazz Legends 2005
Various Artists
Legends 2:59
I'll Get By 2005 ZYX Music
Summertime: Very Best of Billie Holiday 2005 Universal Distribution / Universal International 3:58
Gold 2005 Hip-O 2:57
The Billie Holiday Collection 2005 ZYX Music / Music & Melody 2:55
Rockabilly #1 2006
Various Artists
Raucous
High Priestess of Jazz 2006 American Legends 2:44
Essentials 2006 Stardust/Fantastic Price 3:09
In a Soulful Mood 2006 Music Club International Records 2:56
Memories: An American Songbook 2006
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:09
Forever Forties 2006
Various Artists
Weton 2:55
Very Best of Billie Holiday [Mastersong] 2006 Mastersong 2:55
Greatest Voice in Jazz 2006 Direct Source 2:54
Jazz After Dark [Platinum] 2006
Various Artists
Apace 2:55
The One and Only Lady Day 2006 Primo Records 2:58
You're My Thrill 2006 Back Up
The Essence of Billie Holiday [Essence] 2006 Essence Records 3:09
Lullabies for JazzKids of All Ages 2006
Various Artists
Wonderful Music 2:55
Definitive Gold 2006 Deja Vu
Mastercuts 2007 Mastercuts 2:55
Strange Fruit [DVD] 2007 Salt Peanuts
Lady Day: The Master Takes and Singles 2007 Columbia / Legacy 2:57
Rare Live Recordings 1934-1959 2007 ESP-Disk
Jazz and the City 2008
Various Artists
Deluxe Holland 3:09
The Definitive Collection [Verve] 2008 Verve 4:00
And the Angels Sing: Divas of the Big Band Era 2008
Various Artists
Dynamic 3:11
Mastercuts Legends: Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington 2008
Various Artists
Mastercuts 2:55
Playlist: The Very Best of Billie Holiday 2008 Playlist 2:56
No Image 2008 Umc 3:08
No Image Ebook 2:41
Definitive Collection: 1939-1948 [Rajon] Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 2:57
Legends: Billie Holiday [Decca] Decca 3:11
Memories of Lady Day Companion 3:10
Romance in the Dark Red X
Winter Wonderland [Demon]
Various Artists
Demon Records / DMG TV
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