Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?”, also sung as “Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?”, was one of the best-known American songs of the Great Depression.
Written in 1931 by lyricist E.Y. “Yip” Harburg and composer Jay Gorney, “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” was part of the 1932 musical New Americana. It became best known, however, through recordings by Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallee. Both versions were released right before Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s election to the presidency and both became number one hits on the charts. The Warner Bros. Crosby recording became the best-selling record of its period, and came to be viewed as an anthem of the shattered dreams of the era.
A compilation was released in 1993 of recordings by various artists, including Tom Waits. The song was also recorded more recently by the singer George Michael for his album Songs from the Last Century and by Peter Yarrow in his album “Hard Times”. Judy Collins also include a recording of the song on her 1975 album Judith.