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Give A Little Bit

by

Supertramp



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Supertramp singer/gutiarist Roger Hodgson wrote this song when he was a teenager, but didn't record it until much later. It was about five years between when he wrote the song and when he brought it to the band. When we spoke with Hodgson in 2012, he explained: "I think it's a great song. I didn't realize it was when I first wrote it. It actually took me six years before I even brought it to the band. But I wrote it I think around 1970. That time, the late '60s, early '70s, was a very idealistic time, one of hope, a lot of peace and love and the dream of the '60s was still very alive and maturing, if you like. The Beatles had put out 'All You Need Is Love' a year prior to that. I believed in love - it was always for love - and just felt that was the most important thing in life.

That song has really taken on a life of its own, and I think it's even more relevant today than when I wrote it. Because we really are needing to value love in a much deeper way, and also we're needing to care. The song is basically saying: just show you care. You know, reach out and show you care. So in concert it's the perfect show closer, because what I try to do in my show over two hours is unify the audience and unify all of us. So that at the end, when everyone stands up for 'Give A Little Bit,' they're open and ready to open their hearts and sing at the top of their lungs and go away with a smile on their face. And that song really does, it has a very pure energy. The moment I start, people just start smiling. It's amazing."
Hodgson said this song was "written at a time when writing simple songs was very easy because I didn't over-think them."
The song is a call to share your love with your fellow man. Said Hodgson: "The song itself is such a pure, simple message that I think is really especially even more powerful today when the world has even more problems and it's even more difficult sometimes to be compassionate and caring because we've got to put up all these barriers to survive; that it's a song that really inspires people to give a little bit, not give a lot, just give a little bit and see how it feels and show that you care, and I know for me, every time I play it in concert, there's something about that song.

I look out and people just start smiling straight away and sometimes they hug each other and they start singing with me. It's a very unifying song with a beautiful, simple message that I'm very proud of and really enjoy playing today."
This was used in commercials for The Gap during Christmas season, 2001. The spots featured different singers interpreting the song with the same message: buy lots of stuff. Some of the artists who performed it in the ads were Robbie Robertson, Sheryl Crow, Liz Phair, Dwight Yoakam, and Shaggy.
The Goo Goo Dolls released this on their 2004 album Live From Buffalo. Their version had a lot of success on Top 40 and Light Rock stations - it made #37 on the Hot 100. (thanks, Ted - Greeley, CO)
This has been adopted as a theme song to help raise funds for many worthwhile causes. Hodgson gets many requests to use it and has been generous in granting the rights to charitable efforts. Said Roger, "I'm very, very happy to lend it to any worthwhile fundraising or disaster relief. For Hurricane Katrina, it was used a lot and for the tsunami also and for many others, so it's very wonderful to have a song that can be used in that way. Very gratifying."
Princess Diana loved this song, and Hodgson performed it in her honor at the 2007 Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium. Said Hodgson: "I was kind of sad that I never got to actually play for the princess while she was alive but I was very, very happy that the princes invited me to play for her honor 10 years after her death to celebrate her life in Wembley Stadium and, actually, I was very nervous and I had some laryngitis going on, so it was okay and my voice cracked a few times. It was quite nerve-wracking but it was very wonderful when the audience all stood up, and the princes also, to sing 'Give a Little Bit' with me. That was a magical moment." (Thanks to Roger's management for their help and in supplying the quotes.)
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Comments (22):

I love this song. Supertramp was a great band..
- Jim, Long Beach, CA
This is far superior to the Goo Goo Dolls version, better acoustic guitar, drums and vocals all around.
- john, Grand Island, NY
I remember reading an interview with the band where they said they recorded the guitar intro and rhythm in an elevator because it gave the sound Roger was looking for.
- Stewart, Bellevue, WA
This was used by KidsHelpOut.org and sung by Clay Aiken and Puffy Ami Yumi to help out with tsunami and hurricane relief.
- Tannan, Hays, KS
I like the other version better.
- Landon, Winchester, OH
Great song. Love Roger Hodgson's voice. Too bad he left in 1983 and never went back. I read that he didn't get along with bandmate Rick Davies' wife who was managing the band, so he left. Roger needs to go back for at least one final Supertramp album!!!!
- Dogma, Alexandria, LA
I like Goo Goo Dolls version mainly because I wasn't alive to see the first one on charts.
- Landon, Winchester, OH
It's a great song. Although it was recorded in 1977, it sounds more like an early '70s song. The Goo Goo Dolls version of it is funny, I like Supertramp's version better.
- Paul, Aurora, IL
I saw this used in a Pringles commercial recently, why would they use this, I can't find a use for it to advertise potato chops.
- Mike, Germantown, MD
This is a nice song... it makes you happy and wakes you up emotionally, but it's not too over the top. I like the Goo Goo Dolls version, but then again, I wasn't around in '77 to appreciate the original.
- Jacqueline, Detroit, MI
When I first heard "Give a Little Bit" over the air, I became very excited that my rock station was just playing hits from the the 1969 Woodstock Festival, or more likely from the Haight-Ashbury "Gathering of Tribes" in 1967. Hodgson's lyrics and musical accompaniment purport that raw, subversive honesty so pervasive in the literature & culture of our great rebellion. Naturally, it comes as no surprise that a song like this owes its inspiration to the quasi-political muse of 60s pop art & rock, when universal reform could be felt in every walk of daily life in America.
- Rambo, San Diego, CA
I agree with Julie (Marquette, MI) that this is a "nice, easy-going song"....and I will add that I enjoy the instrumentation....thanks, Supertramp
- David, Broomall, PA
Great song on a sunny day at Kits beach.
- rob, vancouver, Canada
The original version of this by Supertramp is my favorite, but th ecover by th Googoo Dolls is a good one.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
Love it, one of my favourite songs
- Jen, Freddy Beach, Canada
To clear up the bass & guitar issue...

Roger Hodgson was the bassist for the Supertramp on their first two albums (Supertramp & Indellibly Stamped). He moved over to guitar when everyone in the band except he and Rick Davies quit after the lack of success they had with first two releases. His first crediting with guitar is found on their third release, "Crime of the Century".

He also lended a hand on additional keyboards here and there as well.
- Dominick, Concord, NH
A good song in its day, but not worthy of a remake.
- Adrian, Duluth, GA
Actually Hodgson is the lead guitarist
- Roger, America, PA
great supertramp song,
- Phil, Niagara Falls, Canada
Always loved this little ditty...just a nice, easy song..
- Julie, Marquette, MI
Is back on the Top 40 charts, now by The Goo Goo Dolls.
- Ted, Greeley, CO
Although the group's biggest chart hit was the 1978 smash, "Logical Song," drummer Bob Siebenberg says 1977's top 20 hit, "Give A Little Bit" always gets bigger cheers
- DC, Hilo, HI
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