Song Spotlight: “She’s All I’ve Got”

The country genre has gone through many changes since it was established as a genre in the 1920s. In this song spotlight, we will explore the origin of the 1970s tune, “She’s All I’ve Got.” Try out some of the ideas on ways to use and share this danceable tune with others.

“She’s All I’ve Got” was written by Gary U.S. Bonds and Jerry Williams Jr. It was first recorded and released by the R&B artist Freddie North in 1971 and quickly secured a spot on the Top 40s pop charts. Johnny Paycheck released his version that same year, which peaked at number 2 on the country charts. This cross genre cover provides a fun opportunity to hear the song in two unique ways.

The tune has become a popularly covered song in the country genre by multiple other artists over the years, including Conway Twitty, Tanya Tucker, and Tracy Byrd. Most recently, co-writer Jerry Willams Jr, aka Swamp Dogg, released his own version of the tune in 2020.

Here are some of the English lyrics:

Well, I say friend, don’t take her, she’s all I’ve got

Please don’t take her love away from me

I’m beggin’ you friend, don’t take her, she’s all I’ve got

She’s everything in life I’ll ever need


She is life when I wanna live

She’s everything to me in life that life can give

She’s my water when I need to drink

She’s the first thought in my mind each time I try to think


This is a great song to use in a group and would go well with a collection of songs from the 1970s or along with other country songs. It can be used as a transition into discussion, an opportunity for musical engagement, movement and more! 

Try This:

Theme: 1970s, country – This song would fit well into a collection of songs from the 1970s or along with other country songs.Other complementary songs may include “Go Your Own Way,” “Lean on Me,” and “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”

Listen to both versions of the song and discuss the similarities and differences you hear in the music. Which version does your group like best?

Musical engagement: Sing along with the chorus to the song.

Add percussion by adding some rhythm instruments to the song. Use them to emphasize the lines, “And I said friend,” and “she’s all I’ve got.”

Movement: You can do rhythmic movement to this song or learn how to do a seated line dance to the song.

What is your favorite country song? Please leave your comments below!


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