Nobody's Child

Album: His Story: Chapter Three (1949)


  • "Nobody's Child" was written by Mel Foree and Cy Coben. Foree is said to have been Nashville's first full-time songplugger, and this one took some plugging: the song is about an unwanted orphan, and it doesn't have a happy ending. It takes place at an orphanage, where he is never picked by the couples coming by to take home a child. Why? Because he's blind, and nobody wants to take home a blind orphan. He's so lonely and forlorn, he sometimes dreams of being dead so he can go to a better place.

    Country music, especially in the 1940s, has no shortage of songs about loneliness and heartbreak, but this one is especially acute because it deals with a child.
  • This was first recorded by Hank Snow, becoming one of his regular songs, and, incredibly by Tony Sheridan with The Beatles in 1961.

    In the UK, the song was a hit for the one-hit wonder Karen Young from Sheffield (not to be confused with the American singer Karen Young (1951-91). Her version, produced by Tommy Scott and arranged by Nicky Welsh, was released on the Major Minor label in the UK on July 11, 1969, backed by "Oh How I Miss You." Another pressing was backed by "Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On," and became a hit, reaching #6. It was re-released, backed by "Allentown Jail," on Columbia, December 11, 1970.

    In February 1985, Miss Young was back in the news when she was the victim of a vicious robbery while working at an estate agent's office in Beaconsfield. It remains to be seen if this had anything to do with the release of "Nobody's Child" later that year (as Karon Young) on Old Gold backed by "When You Are A King" by White Plains. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • In 1990, George Harrison's group the Traveling Wilburys recorded "Nobody's Child" as a charity single to benefit the Romanian Angel Appeal, which his wife, Olivia, set up to help Romanian orphans. It became the lead track on an album called Nobody's Child: Romanian Angel Appeal, which was made up of songs contributed by other artists.

    The Wilburys version has different lyrics because when they recorded it, they couldn't find a copy of the song and could only remember the first verse. Harrison filled in the rest, making it more universal:

    In every town and village
    There are places just like this
    With rows and rows of children
    And babies in their cribs

Comments: 1

  • Marilyn from 18707The Traveling Wiburys did this song, I was searching for their version and found this original version by Hank Snow; it is a tear jerker no matter who sings it. Every child should hear this song, their mother's and father's hugs would feel all the better for it; and discipline would hold a new meaning.
    My mother sang us a song as children, Mommy When I Go To Heaven Will The Angels Let Me Play, we'd cry and ask her to sing it again; jumping into the family bed was a welcomed and cherished haven, and the tradition was passed on to my children, and still goes on, thank God.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Donnie Iris (Ah! Leah!, The Rapper)Songwriter Interviews

Before "Rap" was a form of music, it was something guys did to pick up girls in nightclubs. Donnie talks about "The Rapper" and reveals the identity of Leah.

Ian Astbury of The CultSongwriter Interviews

The Cult frontman tells who the "Fire Woman" is, and talks about performing with the new version of The Doors.

Little Big TownSongwriter Interviews

"When seeds that you sow grow by the wicked moon/Be sure your sins will find you out/Your past will hunt you down and turn to tell on you."

The PoliceFact or Fiction

Do their first three albums have French titles? Is "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" really meaningless? See if you can tell in this Fact or Fiction.

"Stairway To Heaven" Lawsuit: A TimelineSong Writing

Untangling the events that led to the "Stairway To Heaven" lawsuit.

Movie Stars In Music VideosSong Writing

Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis and John Malkovich are just a few of the film stars who have moonlighted in music videos.