Ain't Nobody's Business
"Ain't Nobody's Business" or "Tain't Nobody's Biz-ness if I Do" is an eight-bar vaudeville blues song that became an early blues standard. It was written in the 1920s by pianist Porter Grainger, who had been Bessie Smith's accompanist, and Everett Robbins. The song was first recorded October 19, 1922 by Anna Meyer with the Five Original Memphis Five. Other early versions include Sara Martin (with Fats Waller on piano) (December 1, 1922 OKeh 8043), Alberta Hunter (February 1923 Paramount 12016), and [Bessie Smith]] (April 26, 1923 Columbia 3898). Porter Grainger's lyrics to the song were copyrighted in 1922, thus they are now in the public domain.
In addition to the early versions, the song has been recorded by numerous artists, including Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Ardis, Diana Ross (for the film Lady Sings the Blues), Otis Spann, Hank Williams Jr., Freddie King, Frank Stokes, Mississippi John Hurt, Eric Clapton, Susan Tedeschi, Taj Mahal, Wingnut Dishwasher's Union, Willie Nelson and [Shirley Witherspoon]. In some of the earliest versions, a theme of violence against women is made explicit. For example, Dinah Washington specifically identifies her then-husband bandleader Eddie Chamblee in her version, "If me and Eddie fuss and fight..." and follows with this verse included in the earlier Bessie Smith recording:
- If I should get beat up by my poppa
- That don't mean you should call no copper
- Cause it ain't nobody's business if we do
- One day, we got ham and bacon
- Next day, ain't nothing shakin'
- But it ain't nobody's business if we do
The song was a career cornerstone for Witherspoon, reaching number one on the R&B charts,but he received only limited royalties from his record company. Witherspoon later ruefully argued that losing those royalties was the price he paid for a long show business career.