Friday, October 06, 2017

Children's Day: Remembering 'Nobody's Child'


Usually, Singapore celebrates Children's Day on First October but from 2011 onwards it will be on the first Friday every October. So for this year, it's on the 5th. Just as we honour the children, we must also remember the impoverished and homeless ones around the world.

1969 hit Nobody's Child by British singer *Karen Young (image 4) highlighted the plight of a blind and unwanted child in an orphanage. The song originally written by Cy Coben and Mel Foree was first recorded by Hank Snow in 1949 and had been covered by artistes that included George Sheridan and three of the Beatles.

Another group called The Traveling Wilburys that had Bob Dylan as a member recorded the song for a benefit (image 2). Asian artistes included Agnes Chan and Irene Ryder, both from Hong Kong on Life Record and Pon EMI Regal. 

Singapore has two versions, one on a Philips Product Long Play by 60s stars, Heather and The Thunderbirds (image 2, details below**) and the other by Lisa Lim and The Stylers on Amigo Records (image 1).
Nobody's Child: Cy Coben and Mel Foree.

(Refrain) I'm nobody's child I'm nobody's child /Just like a flower I'm growing wild/No mommy's kisses and no daddy's smile/Nobody wants me I'm nobody's child...

As I was slowly passing an orphan's home one day/I stopped there for a moment just to watch the children play/Alone a boy was standing and when I asked him why/He turned with eyes that could not see and he began to cry...

Some people come for children and take them for their own/But they all seem to pass me by and leave me all alone/I know they'd like to take me but when they see I'm blind/They always take some other child and I'm left behind...

No mother's arms to hold me or soothe me when I cry/Sometimes it gets so lonely here I wish that I could die/I'll walk the streets of heaven where all the blind can see/And just like the other kids there'd be a home for me...

**PSY 112 275 Philips: Heather - Harvey and The Thunderbirds, 'Birthday'. Side One: I'll Never Fall In Love Again, Birthday, Nobody's Child, Early In The Morning, Special Delivery, The Ballad of John and Yoko. Side Two: Wonderful World, Tracy, With A Little Help from My Friends, Train, Romeo And Juliet, Time Is Tight. To read about The Thunderbirds click

Labels below.

Image 1, 2: Andy Lim Collection.

Image 3, 4: Google.

*There is an added Karen Young biography and connection on the Comment page. She had passed on in 1991. Click Comments below.


Lam Chun See said...

I like this song. We used to listen to the version by Agnes Chan. Not sure why.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I don't mind Agnes Chan's version but Karen Young's was the first one I heard.

To answer your question, psychologically I think it could be the social and cultural connection but I may be wrong.


Anonymous said...

From flamingindigo:

Eh? Since when was Children's day pushed to the first Friday of every October?????

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Enjoy the song... Don't worry about Children's Day.

Let's Sing It said...

Karen Young - Biography
From: "Let's Sing It'

last update : 07-07-2006 20:37
Once again an icon of the disco-era is virtually ignored. And once again there is little to no information about someone that gave disco one of it's most enduring hits.

Best known for her 1978 international dancefloor hit "Hot Shot," Philadelphian Karen Young initially debuted in 1969 with a U.K. hit, "Nobody's Child."

The disco era allowed her to resurface after a long hiatus, and she went on to record a number of disco and rock-oriented singles until the mid-'80s, shortly before her untimely death.

Her recordings for West End, Atlantic, Sunshine, Ariola, and Boardwalk Records are among some of disco's most enduring classics.

The content spans surefire disco, "Hot Shot," "Dynamite," and the saucy "Baby You Ain't Nothin' (Without Me)," bluesy ballads (a cover of Sam Cooke's) "A Change Is Gonna Come," AOR "One Sure Way," and pop/rock "Deetour" and "Expressway To Your Heart."

Her most consistent numbers are the dance ones, benefiting from Young's peppy delivery and Walter Kahn's clever production.

The more rock-style entries suffer from arrangements lacking in direction in most cases, though "Expressway" is notable for its meshing of a bright, R&B horn arrangement and rock guitars.

However, Young's enthusiastic improved and heartfelt style are the strongest aspects throughout.

Karen's health problems plagued here throughout her career and in January of 1991 she succumbed to a ruptured stomach at the young age of 39.

Her raspy, often growling voice is missed. But thanks to her million-selling hit "Hot Shot" she lives on in our hearts and ears!

GrandmaMaryRocks said...

Hi Andy,

Love your blogspot.. Brings back some lovely memories of music and songs.

Keep well.


Lam Chun See said...

I can't believe that Victor has nothing to add to this topic.

Victor Koo said...

Sure I have, Chun See.

I remember how Children's Day was celebrated when I was a primary school student in the 1960s.

Each of us would get a packet of assorted Thye Hong (or was it Khong Guan?) biscuits - the kind with sugar/butter cream sandwiched between 2 biscuits. One biscuit was dark brown, the rest light brown.

There were also 3 button-shaped sweets wrapped in transparent cellophane paper - the sweets were red, white and yellow in colour.


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks for all the comments. I shall remember not to mix topics in future when sending out emails.

I was thinking more about the children who never had a chance in life and how a song like,
'Nobody's Child' highlights the plight of these young people.

Unk Dicko said...

I sang this song a few times, by popular requests, for Children's Day while I was still in service. Sang to a hall packed with the whole school population. It's always very touching.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Dick for the feedback. I am sure with your talent audiences are attracted to you as butterflies are to flowers. You have a melodious voice and play the ukelele well.

It is true that the song is a touching one. Reminds us all in Singapore how lucky we are to be living here. Children in other countries are most neglected, hungry and homeless.

TC Lai said...

Thanks, Andy. I now remember the singer and the album cover (not the one you posted, but the one with "Nobody's Child and 13 other great songs"). Nobody's Child is one song we play often at home and sing along.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks TC for comments,

There's a Singapore version by LISA LIM and accompanied by 'The Stylers' on Amigo Records AEP 1091.

She sings it with three other songs, "Proud Mary," "Fraulein," and "Ill Never Fall In Love Again."

Anyone else with other versions?

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TinaJGoh said...

Hi Andy!

Lovely to have met you this morning! I love your blog; it's like walking down memory lane of the '60s & '70s.

"Nobody's Child", gosh, I sang the song on Children's Day in Ladrador School concert with 2 other classmates after my form teacher Mrs Hendricks coaxed me to.

Do you have an article for "To Sir With Love"?

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Hi Tina,

It has been great meeting you this morning. Thank you for connecting. Good to hear you like the blog. You started your singing career young.

Yes, here's the connection to: TO SIR WITH LOVE.

Take care and keep visiting the blog.