Former Beatle George Harrison recorded "Nobody's Child" with his band the Traveling Wilburys at the start of the sessions for their 1990 album Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3. This was in response to an urgent request from his wife, Olivia Harrison, for assistance for the thousands of Romanian orphans abandoned in state-run orphanages following the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. Harrison's bandmate Bob Dylan suggested the song for its relevant message.
Unable to remember all the lyrics, Harrison phoned his friend Joe Brown, who gave him the first verse. He wrote a new second verse to address the plight of the children and babies in Romania, which ends with the lines "They've long since stopped their crying, as no one ever hears / And no one's there to notice them or take away their fears".
Lead vocals on the recording were shared between Dylan, Harrison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne. According to Harrison, the group completed the track within 48 hours of Olivia's phone call.
The Wilburys' "Nobody's Child" was released as a charity single on June 18, 1990, backed by Dave Stewart's "Lumiere". The 12-inch and CD formats also included a live version of "With a Little Help from My Friends" by Ringo Starr. Proceeds from the single went to the Romanian Angel Appeal Foundation, launched by Olivia with support from the other former Beatles' wives.
Derek Hayes directed a music video for "Nobody's Child", using animation and news footage of the Romanian children. On July 23, the song was issued as the opening track of the charity album Nobody's Child: Romanian Angel Appeal, which Harrison compiled from further recordings donated by artists such as Eric Clapton, Elton John, Van Morrison, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.
As I was slowly passing, an orphans home today I stopped for just a little while to watch the children play A lone boy standin', and when I asked him why He turned with eyes that could not see, and he began to cry I'm nobody's child, I'm nobody's child Just like a flower I'm growin' wild No mama's arms to hold me no daddy's smile Nobody wants me, I'm nobody's child In every town and village There are places just like this With rows and rows of children And babies in their cribs They've long since stopped their cryin' As no-one ever hears And no-one there to notice them or take away their fears Nobody's child, they're nobody's child Just like a flower they're growin wild No mama's arms to hold them, no daddy's smile Nobody wants them they're nobody's child Nobody's child, they're nobody's child Just like a flower they're growin wild No mama's arms to hold them, no daddy's smile Nobody wants them they're nobody's child Nobody wants them they're nobody's child