This aspirational song was written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn for the 1959 movie A Hole In The Head, which starred Sinatra and was directed by Frank Capra. In the film, Sinatra performs the song with Eddie Hodges, who played Sinatra's 12-year-old son.
Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn had several other successful collaborations, resulting in the songs "Love And Marriage" and "Come Fly With Me," which were also recorded by Sinatra. Cahn wrote 87 songs that were recorded by Sinatra.
A children's choir was used on the single release of this song, which was credited to "Frank Sinatra and a bunch of kids." Hodges did not sing on this version.
This won an Oscar for Best Original Song. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Song of the Year at the 1960 ceremony but lost to Jimmy Horton's "The Battle of New Orleans."
According to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Sinatra sang this during Kennedy's successful 1960 presidential run, and it became Kennedy's campaign song. The song's writers Van Heusen and Cahn wrote a new set of lyrics to cheer on Kennedy, with the first lines:
Everyone is voting for Jack 'Cause he's got what all the rest lack Everyone wants to back, Jack Jack is on the right track
This version was recorded as "High Hopes With Jack Kennedy." There was no artist listed on the label and it wasn't sold (likely for legal reasons), but was distributed to juke boxes and radio stations.
Kennedy also had a more traditional custom campaign song called "Kennedy For Me," but it lacked Sinatra's star power.
Doris Day covered this for her 1964 album, With a Smile and a Song. Her version was featured in the 1998 animated film Antz.
The title characters of the TV series Laverne & Shirley often sang this to cheer themselves up when they were down on their luck.
Seth MacFarlane, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Daniel Radcliffe performed this at the 85th Academy Awards ceremony in 2013.