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Sara Smile by Hall & Oates

Album: Daryl Hall And John OatesReleased: 1975Charted:
4
  • Daryl Hall wrote this for his collaborator/girlfriend Sara Allen. Her sister, Janna Allen, co-wrote their hit "Kiss On My List." Janna died of leukemia in 1993. (thanks, Charles - Charlotte, NC)
  • They never got married, but Daryl and Sara were together for about 28 years before they broke up in 2001. In Entertainment Weekly October 16, 2009, Hall listed this as one of their favorite songs, and explained: "That was a postcard to Sara Allen, who was my partner for many, many years, a 'having a great time, wish you were here' kind of thing. I cannot tell you how many girls have told me they were named for it!"
  • The album's cover photo by Mick Jagger's makeup designer Pierre LaRoche, a glitzy shot of Hall and Oates in heavy makeup captured the eye. John Oates explained in Nick Tosches' biography Dangerous Dances, "We decided that if we were going to put our faces on an album cover for the first time we wanted to do it in a big way. Pierre said, in that French accent of his, 'I will immortalize you!' And he just did. To this day it's the only album cover that people ask us about."

    David Bowie said that LaRoche was the best makeup artist he ever worked with.
  • According to Barry Rudolph, who was an engineer on the session, Hall sang his vocal live with the band. The only edit they made was to punch in over the word "Sara" in the beginning of the second chorus. With the backing vocals, Hall was trying to get them to sound like the Doo-Wop group The Dells.
  • In 2009 country singer Jimmy Wayne recorded an updated version of this song with Hall and Oates. Wayne got his first record deal because of this tune after then-Dreamworks executive Scott Borchetta heard him sing it and it has been part of his concert repertoire ever since. Wayne said in publicity materials: "Over 13 years ago, I picked a Hall & Oates Greatest Hits CD out of a bargain box that sat outside the department store in the old Gaston Mall in Gastonia, North Carolina. I listened to the CD on my way home and I heard 'Sara Smile' for the first time. I began singing this song long before I knew how to play it on guitar and I just felt like it was as if the song was written for me."
    The Jimmy Wayne updated version was Hall and Oates debut on the Hot Country Songs chart.
  • This song was performed on the episode "Tom, Sarah and Usher" of the Adult Swim show The Boondocks. In the episode, Tom DuBois started to sing the song to his wife, when Usher comes in and sings the song a lot better. (thanks, Logan - Troy, MT)
  • Tommy Mottola, who would later become chairman of Sony Music and marry Mariah Carey, was Hall & Oates manager at the time. He had some experience as a musician (recording as "T.D. Valentine"), and is credited for playing keyboards on the Daryl Hall And John Oates album.
  • Chris Bond produced this track with Hall & Oates. According to Scott Edwards, who played bass on this song, much of its success is attributable to Bond. Says Edwards: "Chris Bond was the real impetus behind 'Sara Smile,' 'Rich Girl,' 'She's Gone' for Hall & Oates. But he was never given the accolades he deserved. He's the one in my mind that was really responsible for their success. They may have written the lyrics and the chords and all that, but Chris was the one who figured out the production and the projection of it. He was a really good arranger and he wrote out note for note. He knew exactly how long he wanted you to let a note ring, how to hit it, how to release it. He was a good guitar player, but he played all the instruments. So he was one person who really could write out everything and it would be great." (Here's our full Scott Edwards interview.)
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Comments: 30

On January 25th 1976, "Sara Smile" by Daryl Hall and John Oates entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on June 20th it peaked at #4 (for 2 weeks) and spent over a half-year on the Top 100 (28 weeks)...
It reached #18 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
In 2009 Jimmy Wayne released a covered version; it peaked at #31 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart (Hall & Oates provided back-up vocals on the record)...
The same Hall & Oates' record preceded and also succeeded "Sara Smile" on the Top 100; "She's Gone" first entered the chart in February 1974 and reached #60 and then it re-entered the Top 100 two years later in July 1976 and this time it peaked at #7.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
My boyfriend let me listen to this song one day...and then he said that it tell the truth about what he feels...Now, this becomes our song...It's you and me forever...the line he keeps telling me.Birdie - Cebu, Philippines
This is just a beautiful song, I love listening to it very often.Peter - Wilbraham, Ma
I was in love with a girl named Sarah in college. Sadly we never got together. I still love this tune though.Joel - Junction City, Ks
Something about that 70's vibe. Songs such as "I can't tell you why," "Miracles," and "Sarah Smile," all have that vibe. I don't know if its the bass that is brought up or the soul that is put into it, but I wish someone would bring it back!Danny - Your Town, Ia
I love this song! Growing up I always hated my name "Sara" because it was so common however my mom would always sing this to me. Over the years my name and this song have grown on me and I now love both of them.Beautiful song!Sara - Union City, Tn
nice song beautifully sung.Gary - Hull, United Kingdom
Sandra Allen is My Mother and I love that song so muchKendra - Milwaukee, Wi
on the sara smile record there was a Sandra Allen who sung in the back ground of this songKendra - Milwaukee, Wi
I remember this song from my teens. It really is a feelgood song. Have only recently come accross it again and love it as much now as I did back then. Clare Suffolk. UKClare - Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom
i have a 9 yr old cousin named sara u always think of her when i hear it she's my baby girl if any guy sings it to hgher before she is at least 17 they better look out :) actually thats my song fo her its you and me 4everJennifer - Orion, Mi
This song was a #1 hit when my sister gave birth to my niece Sara. She was premature and spent the first three months of her life in an uncubator. We feared she wouldn't live but every time this song played on the radio I had hope. I'm pleased say she's a mother of two now.Lalah - Wasilla, Ak
To me, Sara Smile is one third of the trinity of Hall and Oates, the others being Rich Girl and She's Gone. It's such a hauntingly beautiful song, and you can hear the love Darryl had for Sara come through in the song.Craig - Everett, Wa
SARAH SMILE IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE OLDIES I'M YOUNG BUT BY LISTING 2 OLD SONGS THEY ACTUALLY TELL U ABOUT LIFE SITUATIONS BUT ITS A VERY GOOD SONGKenyatta - Jackson, Ms
Yes, probably the best song of the romantic adult-contemp/R&B sub-genre I have ever heard. It also evokes memories for me (seems like it does for a lot of people!). Mine are, alas, not good. It reminds me of a girl (not named Sara) who I dated briefly over 15 years ago. I stopped seeing her to start seeing someone else who I didn't date for long thereafter. I wonder if I had not done that, would me and this other girl have been more successful? Oh the folly of youth, and the sentimental foolishness of experience! No winning for losing it seems, but life does go on.Matt - Rochester, Ny
My grandfather just passed away recently. This was his and my grandmother's wedding song. Her name is obviously Sara. And the song has been in my head since he passed 27 October 2006.Bruce - Woodbridge, Va
This song makes me sad. I used to have a crush on this girl named Sarah at work. She had a boyfriend at the time.Joel - Columbia, Sc
This song is a timeless classic... Baby hair with a womans eyes
I can feel you watching in the night
All alone with me and were waiting for the sunlight
When I feel cold you warm me
When I feel I cant go on you come and hold me
Its you... and me forever....
Tony - Atlanta, Ga
Donna, my fellow Hoosier, Bob Dylan had a song called Sara, Fleetwood Mac also had a song called Sara, also Rascal Flats recorded a song called Sarah Beth, hope this helps.Jay - Atlanta, Ga
Daryl Hall refers to Sarah Allen as his "doctor" in a July posting on his website. What's the deal? Together or not? They put on a GREAT show last night in Phoenix. He is really looking thin, but obviously recovered from his Lyme disease- full of energy and sounding good.Does anyone know how tall he is?Linda - Scottsdale, Az
I did not know about Darryl. Sad to hear that.Donna - Anywhere, In
Yeah, I heard about the Lyme disease. I hope he gets betterAj - Cleveland, Ga
Sad news: Daryl Hall has been diagnosed with Lyme's disease on July 10,2005. Wish him luck.Alex - New Orleans, La
Its so exciting to know that there is actually a song written about my name. Its not so often when you hear a song singing about "sarah"
-Sarah,Naples,Florida
Sarah - Glenn Mills, Pa
I love Hall and Oates! I love the song, it has that 70s vibe to it. 'Aj - Cleveland, Ga
Hall and Oates had more #1 hits then any other rock group!Phil - San Jose, Ca
sarah I got one its called brickhouse check it outZac - Gastonia, Al
ive never heard this song but its as close as i will get to a song being written about me. I fu know any songs written about a sarah let me knowSarah - Sydney, Australia
As I remember, Kasey Kasem once stated that this song was one of the first on R&B charts by white artists.Manny - Columbus, Or
Sara Allen showed up at a recent (July 2003)show with Daryl Hall and he pointed her out while on stage. I don't know if that means they are back together but it didn't appear to anyone that they were "just friends".Carl - Boston, Ma