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Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

From its title and lyrical content, you might guess that Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out was penned in the 1930s, but you would be wrong.  It was written in the 'roaring' twenties by Jimmy Cox.  The song leapt to fame when it was recorded by Bessie Smith.  Her version was released in September 1929, one month before the Wall Street Crash.  Sadly, according to Wikipedia, Jimmy Cox died in 1925.  So he didn't live to see his creation achieve fame.  More recently, Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out has been covered by Eric Clapton (and indeed by Derek and the Dominoes).  It has an interesting chord progression.  The arrangement on this page is in the key of G.  See the embedded YouTube video for a lesson about how to play the song on the guitar.

Chords

G                          B7         E                 E7
Once I lived the life of a millionaire,

Am            E7                    Am
Spending money, didn't have any care,


C                                            G                     E7

I took my friends out for a mighty good time,

A7                                    D7
Bought bootleg liquor, champagne and wine.




G          B7           E                   E7
Then I began to fall so low,

 
Am                  E7                Am
I didn't have a friend, and no place to go

C                                     G          E7
If I get my hands on a dollar again,

A7                                                     D7
I'm gonna hold on to it till them eagles grin.




G  B7     E                    E7
Nobody knows you

Am                 E7              Am
When you're down and out,

C                        G           E7
In your pocket not one penny,

A7                                   D7
And as for friends, you haven't any;

       G                       B7                  E                     E7
But when you get back on your feet again,

Am              E7                          Am
Everybody wants to be your long lost friend,

C                                         G            E7
It's mighty strange, without any doubt,

A7                                                    D7
Nobody knows you when you're down and out.




G  B7     E                    E7
Nobody knows you

Am                 E7              Am
When you're down and out,

C                        G           E7
In your pocket not one penny,

A7                                   D7
And as for friends, you haven't any;

       G                       B7                  E                     E7
But when you get back on your feet again,

Am              E7                          Am
Everybody wants to be your long lost friend,

C                                        G            E7
It's mighty strange, without any doubt,

A7
Nobody knows you,

C                                                                          
Nobody knows you,

A7          D7                                                       G
Nobody knows you when you're down and out.

Lyrics

Once I lived the life of a millionaire,
Spending money, didn't have any care,
I took my friends out for a mighty good time,
Bought bootleg liquor, champagne and wine.

Then I began to fall so low,
I didn't have a friend, and no place to go
If I get my hand on a dollar again,
I'm gonna hold on to it till them eagles grin.

Nobody knows you when you're down and out,
In your pocket not one penny,
And as for friends, you haven't any;
But when you get back on your feet again,
Everybody wants to be your long lost friend,
It's mighty strange, without any doubt,
Nobody knows you when you're down and out.

Nobody knows you when you're down and out,
In your pocket not one penny,
And as for friends, you haven't any;
But when you get back on your feet again,
Everybody wants to be your long lost friend,
It's mighty strange, without any doubt,
Nobody knows you,
Nobody knows you,
Nobody knows you when you're down and out.

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