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Everything I Own

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"Everything I Own"
Single by Bread
from the album Baby I'm-a Want You
B-side"I Don't Love You"
ReleasedJanuary 29, 1972
Songwriter(s)David Gates
Producer(s)David Gates
Bread singles chronology
"Baby I'm-a Want You"
"Everything I Own"
Music video
"Everything I Own" on YouTube

"Everything I Own" is a song written by American singer-songwriter David Gates. It was originally recorded by Gates's soft rock band Bread for their 1972 album Baby I'm-a Want You. The original reached No. 5 on the American Billboard Hot 100. Billboard ranked it as the No. 52 song for 1972.[5] "Everything I Own" also reached No. 5 in Canada and No. 12 in Australia.

Jamaican artist Ken Boothe's reggae version of the song was No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart in 1974. A version by Boy George reached No. 1 in the charts in the UK, Canada, Ireland and Norway in 1987, Boy George's first hit and only UK No. 1 as a solo artist.

The song was also included in the soundtrack of the credits, which is played in full in the season finale of 2011 miniseries This Is England '88 and in the 2023 film Beau Is Afraid where the music plays in remembrance of Beau's Mother at her funeral near the end segment of the movie, listed as one of her favourite songs.


Although initial listeners may have interpreted it as a song about a broken relationship, David Gates revealed that it was written in memory of his father who died in 1963 before he achieved his success with Bread.[6] According to the book 1000 UK No. 1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, at his father's funeral, a friend took David Gates aside and said, "Your dad was so proud of what you were doing." David agreed, "My success would have been so special to him as he was my greatest influence. So I decided to write and record 'Everything I Own' about him. If you listen to the words, 'You sheltered me from harm, kept me warm, you gave my life to me, set me free', it says it all."[7]

As for the title, Gates said that he once sent his mother an orchid for her birthday at a time when he could barely afford it: "She was so touched – my dad wrote to tell me I could have had "anything she owned" in return."[6] Typically Gates wrote the lyrics after the music. Although the lyrics were written so it could be interpreted as a love song, Gates said: "When I played it for my wife, she knew right away that it was about my father. She cried."[6]


Record World said that "More melodically subtle than its predecessor, 'Baby I'm-A Want You,' David Gates' latest gem will join the growing line of Bread winners.[8] Cash Box said that "ballad with strongly rhythmic chorus is another David Gates beauty carefully baked by Bread."[9]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[18] Silver 200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Ken Boothe version[edit]

"Everything I Own"
Single by Ken Boothe
from the album Everything I Own
B-side"Drum Song"
StudioFederal studios, Kingston
LabelWild Flower/Federal (Jamaica)
Trojan (UK)
Songwriter(s)David Gates
Producer(s)Lloyd Charmers
Ken Boothe singles chronology
"Everything I Own"
"Crying Over You"
Official audio
"Everything I Own" on YouTube

Jamaican artist Ken Boothe's reggae version of the song "Everything I Own" in 1974 was featured on his Trojan Records album release of the same name. Boothe first heard Andy Williams' version of the song in Canada, and included it in his album as he needed additional material.[6]

He recorded the song at the Federal studios in Kingston, Jamaica, and it reached No. 1 in Jamaica on release. The recording was then picked by Trojan Records for release in the United Kingdom,[6] where it reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart on October 26, 1974, staying at the top for three weeks.[19]

The song spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Irish Singles Chart.[20] Although the song was a major success, with Trojan going bankrupt in 1975, Boothe did not receive royalties.[6]

Boothe's version employs the lyric "I would give anything I own".


Source: [21]

Boy George version[edit]

"Everything I Own"
Single by Boy George
from the album Sold
B-side"Use Me"
ReleasedMarch 13, 1987 (UK)
1993 (US)
Recorded1986 in Montserrat
Songwriter(s)David Gates
Producer(s)Stewart Levine
Boy George singles chronology
"Everything I Own"
"Keep Me in Mind"

"The Crying Game"

"Everything I Own"

"More Than Likely"
Alternative cover
Music video
"Everything I Own" on YouTube

The version by British singer and songwriter Boy George reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart for two weeks in March 1987, becoming his first hit and only UK No. 1 as a solo artist.[22] It was also his first solo single after a departure from his band, Culture Club. Owing more to the Ken Boothe version, the sweet reggae style was reminiscent of his earlier debut hit with Culture Club, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?".

Coming at the time of his arrest for possession of heroin, it provided a major boost to his career. Other than the UK, it was a No. 1 in many countries (including Canada, Ireland, Italy, Norway and South Africa) and top 10 in many markets too. The track was recorded during the "Sold" sessions at Air Studios Montserrat and produced by Stewart Levine. The musicians were Ian Maidman (later aka Jennifer Maidman) bass and guitar, Vic Martin keyboards, Glen Nightingale guitar, Richie Stevens drums, and Paul 'Wix' Wickens keyboards .[citation needed]

Boy George played this song many times in his live shows. He re-recorded the track in an acoustic style (named the Hippy Trippy Mix) and it was released on the American CD single of "Everything I Own", a re-release from 1993. It was also remixed in a dub version for the Culture Club 2002 box set.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

William Ruhlmann from AllMusic stated in his review of Sold, "But it's still that bouncy, vulnerable voice, notably on the reggae-tinged hit "Everything I Own", that remains his trademark."[23] On the 1993 version, Larry Flick from Billboard commented, "Refurbished for George's new "At Worst, The Best Of" compilation, oh-so charming track should meet with greater approval this time around—thanks to George's revived strength at radio and radio's increasing penchant for reggaevibed covers."[24]

Irish newspaper Kerryman wrote that the singer "returns with the deceptive tune that was aired by American group Bread. While it may not be a brilliant return the Boy needs our support. Lets hope this will mark the beginning of a full rehabilitation."[25] A reviewer from People Magazine described it as an "atrocious" reggae version, and added, "To fit the reggae meter George must resort to a sort of hiccup on the chorus, “I would give everything I o-own." Oh-oh, Boy!"[26]

British newspaper Reading Evening Post reviewed the song as a "croaky and tired sounding version of the old hit."[27] Pete Clark of Smash Hits noted that for this cover version, George "opts for the reggae approach", and deemed "this might just mark the beginning of a full rehabilitation".[28]


Other versions[edit]

  • Joe Stampley released this song twice. First on his 1972 album If You Touch Me (You've Got to Love Me), and then again in 1976 on his All These Things album. He released it as a single in 1976 and it peaked at No. 12 on the Country charts.[citation needed]
  • In 1972, Brazilian singer Diana released a Portuguese version of the song under the title "Tudo Que Eu Tenho", which is part of her debut album. The song was adapted into the language by Rossini Pinto and used in the soundtrack of the film O Céu de Suely (2006), Karim Aïnouz.[citation needed]
  • Country star Crystal Gayle released her version as a single in 1983 where it peaked at No. 93 on the UK Singles Chart.[54]
  • On November 19, 2009, Greg London and his version of "Everything I Own" won the award for Best Adult Contemporary Song for the highest charting new artist release and release on an independent label on all three AC Radio airplay charts at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards.[55][56]
  • Everything I Own is also in the second studio album by the British-Australian singer-songwriter Olivia Newton-John, released in 1972.


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