BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE A DIME?
(Gorney, Harburg)

When Bing recorded this song in October, 1932, one out of every four Americans who wanted work could not find work. The banking system was near collapse. Record sales had plummeted because Americans did not have the money for such luxuries. No song captures the dark spirit of the Great Depression more than "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" The song was written for a Broadway musical, "New Americana." The show flopped and closed two days before Bing stepped into the recording studio. Both Bing and Rudy Vallee each recorded the song shortly before President Roosevelt's election. Both versions went to No. 1 in the charts. Bing's interpretation, with his ominous baritone, proved to be the one that would stand the test of time.

Hear Bing's recording. (MP3 udio format, 1932)

They used to tell me
I was building a dream.
And so I followed the mob
When there was earth to plow
Or guns to bear
I was always there
Right on the job.
They used to tell me
I was building a dream
With peace and glory ahead.
Why should I be standing in line
Just waiting for bread?
Once I built a railroad
I made it run
Made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad
Now it's done
Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower up to the sun
Brick and rivet and lime.
Once I built a tower,
Now it's done.
Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once in khaki suits
Gee we looked swell
Full of that yankee doodle dee dum.
Half a million boots went sloggin' through hell
And I was the kid with the drum!
Say don't you remember?
They called me Al.
It was Al all the time.
Why don't you remember?
I'm your pal.
Say buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits,
Ah, gee we looked swell
Full of that yankee doodle dee dum!
Half a million boots went sloggin' through hell
And I was the kid with the drum!
Oh, say don't you remember?
They called me Al.
It was Al all the time.
Say, don't you remember?
I'm your pal.
Buddy, can you spare a dime?

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