Brother Can You Spare a Dime

  • The Song
  • Back Stories
composition date
1931
genre
Show
songwriter(s)
E.Y. Harburg
Jay Gorney

A symbol of the Depression

Harburg and composer Jay Gorney (then Paramount Pictures’ East Coast music director) were strolling through Central Park when a beggar asked, “Buddy, can you spare a dime?” Substituting the word “brother” for “buddy,” Harburg had a classic lyric—a symbol of the great Depression.

Bookmark and Share
The 3 part PBS Series
Own the DVD