Give A Little Bit (Supertramp)

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Daddy were formed in 1969 in Wiltshire and originally classed as a prog rock band. After 12 months without any success they changed their name to Supertramp and then their career started to take off.

Within a couple of years their sound became more commercial and they found themselves on mainstream radio.  The band, although had a varying line up over the years, consisted of mainstays Rick Davies, Roger Hodgson, John Helliwell, Doug Thomson and Bob Benberg.

Their first two albums, Supertramp and Indelibly Stamped failed to excite the record buying public, but it was their next offering, Crime Of The Century, that opened their chart account by reaching number four. Their debut single, Dreamer reached number 13. Crisis, What Crisis? made number 20 the following year and this was followed in 1977 by Even In The Quietest Moments.

That album opened with the song that became one of their most popular despite only reaching number 29 – Give A Little Bit. “I think it’s a great song,” commented Roger Hodgson in an interview with Dan MacIntosh. “I didn’t realise it 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. It was written at a time when writing simple songs was very easy because I didn’t over-think them.”

Roger described what happens when he performs the song in concert in very recent times, “I look out and people just start hugging 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. 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.”

Interestingly the song writer credits both Rick Davies and Roger Hodgson although it is a Hodgson composition. The pair, like Lennon and McCartney agreed to share writing credits from 1974 through until 1983, when Hodgson left to pursue a solo career.

The song was a favourite of Princess Diana’s and Roger sang it at a special concert For Diana at Wembley in 2007. “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 honour 10 years after her death.”

In 2001 the song was used in the Gap advert on television with various artists performing versions of it including Sheryl Crow, The Band’s Robbie Roberston and Shaggy. The Goo Goo Dolls recorded it for their Live from Buffalo album in 2004 and even made the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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