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.
Suggestion credit: 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.)
Nieves Estrada from EspañaGran tema Give a Little Bit, del gran Roger Hodgson. He tenido el honor de asistir a dos conciertos este verano en España ´, y este tema en vivo es único, y Roger conecta con su público de una manera muy especial. Deseando que empiece la gira 2018.
Bob Berenson from UsaBeautiful, spiritual song and even today when he plays it live, seeing people of all ages dance, sing and clap is really cool after all these years. He sounds just as good today, in 2017 as he did in the early 70's. Rock on Roger!!
Merlina from GermanyAs I was checking out this one tonight, I just came across another version of Give a Little Bit in amazon.co.uk's Christmas ad 2017 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9SCZwh8Tvg - and I have to say that this song puts a smile on my face every single time I hear it. Can't wait to hear it again live in concert from Roger Hodgson during his 2018 tour. :)
Candy from SpainWhat can I say about this great world anthem of the history of modern music! A powerful message leaves in his words, and a sweet and simple melody accompanies his musical notes. How many millions of people can feel good listening to this great composition by Roger Hodgson? I have been able to enjoy it live in several of his concerts of his Breakfast in America tour, in several countries; and the face of the entire audience is the same when the first notes begin to sound, full happiness, and singing all in unison with Roger, in a truly unique atmosphere today, for its warm atmosphere and the delivery of Roger in his shows .
Ana from SpainMusic has a lot of power, because it reaches the deepest emotions of people, and Give a Little Bit is very powerful. Always a highlight in Roger Hodgson's shows, because, he, as the composer of this great song, almost an anthem, always put on their feet the audiences and sing along and spread so much fun and joy. When the first notes of the song fly in the air, a big smile comes to your face, and this smile, is still there for a long time. Its message is nowadays even more important than ever. It feels so good when you give yourself to others, when you smile to others. What a powerful message!!
Brad Davis from San DiegoGive a Little Bit has a wonderful message. Thanks for all this great information and the lyrics. This song make me so happy when I sing it and if you read the lyrics you will see how important is its message nowadays, just as much as when it was written. Roger still plays this as his finale on his Breakfast in America tour. Don't miss Roger live if he plays by your area. www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SQGJmgnEI8
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 29th 1977, "Give A Little Bit" by Supertramp entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #77; and on August 21st it peaked at #15 (for 2 weeks) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100... It was track one of side one on the groups' fifth studio album, 'Even in the Quietest Moments', and the album reached #16 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart... In 2005 it was covered by the Goo Goo Dolls; their version peaked at #37 on the Top 100... Between 1975 and 1985 Supertramp had ten Top 100 records; two reached the Top 10 with "The Logical Song" being their biggest hit, it reached #6 for 4 weeks on June 10th, 1979.
Jim from Long Beach, CaI love this song. Supertramp was a great band..
John from Grand Island, NyThis is far superior to the Goo Goo Dolls version, better acoustic guitar, drums and vocals all around.
Stewart from Bellevue, WaI 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.
Tannan from Hays, KsThis was used by KidsHelpOut.org and sung by Clay Aiken and Puffy Ami Yumi to help out with tsunami and hurricane relief.
Landon from Winchester, OhI like the other version better.
Dogma from Alexandria, LaGreat 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!!!!
Landon from Winchester, OhI like Goo Goo Dolls version mainly because I wasn't alive to see the first one on charts.
Paul from Aurora, IlIt'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.
Mike from Germantown, MdI 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.
Jacqueline from Detroit, MiThis 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.
Rambo from San Diego, CaWhen 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.
David from Broomall, PaI agree with Julie (Marquette, MI) that this is a "nice, easy-going song"....and I will add that I enjoy the instrumentation....thanks, Supertramp
Rob from Vancouver, CanadaGreat song on a sunny day at Kits beach.
Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScThe original version of this by Supertramp is my favorite, but th ecover by th Googoo Dolls is a good one.
Jen from Freddy Beach, CanadaLove it, one of my favourite songs
Dominick from Concord, NhTo 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.
Adrian from Duluth, GaA good song in its day, but not worthy of a remake.
Roger from America, PaActually Hodgson is the lead guitarist
Phil from Niagara Falls, Canadagreat supertramp song,
Julie from Marquette, MiAlways loved this little ditty...just a nice, easy song..
Ted from Greeley, CoIs back on the Top 40 charts, now by The Goo Goo Dolls.
Dc from Hilo, HiAlthough 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