The song was written for the band by British singer-songwriter Mika, and was originally intended as the group's comeback single in September 2008, but Mika decided against its release for reasons unknown. As such, the song features lead vocals from Ronan Keating and Stephen Gately. After Gately's death in October 2009, Mika contacted the band and asked if they wished to release the song as a tribute to Gately. He said: "I was shocked and saddened when to hear about Stephen's passing. He touched so many people's lives both with his music and with his wonderful personality. It's an honour to hear him sing my song. I wish all the best to the rest of the boys. I'm proud of the song and proud of their version". The song received its first airplay on 17 January 2010 on Keating's radio show on Magic Radio.
The music video for "Gave It All Away" premiered a week after its release, on 8 March 2010, at a total length of three minutes and forty seven seconds. The video is a tribute to the late Stephen Gately, and features footage from his time in the band and previously unseen footage from his personal life. The video revolves around the four remaining band members reminiscing about Stephen and mourning his passing. The video has received nearly three million views on YouTube.
"Gave It All Away" reached No. 1 on the Irish Singles Chart, knocking Jedward's Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby) from the top spot. On 7 March 2010, "Gave It All Away" debuted on the UK Singles Chart at No. 9, marking Boyzone's eighteenth UK Top 10 hit. The single spent only one week in the Top 10, as it fell to No. 20 the following week. On its third week in the chart, the single fell a further nine places to No. 29. However, following a performance from the band on Boyzone: A Tribute to Stephen Gately, broadcast on ITV1 to an audience of 8.12 million, the track entered the top 10 once again at No. 10. In the UK, first week sales were at 60,000, overall it has sold 130,000 copies in the UK. On Sunday 10 October, Boyzone sang the song live on Australian X Factor. The following week, it debuted on the Australian ARIA chart at No. 42.