Your Smiling Face

Album: JT (1977)
Charted: 20

Songfacts®:

  • This joyful song is one of Taylor's classics. It finds him lighting up at the sight of a loved one. At the time, he was married to Carly Simon, the obvious inspiration. Long after their 1983 divorce he told Charlie Rose: "It's a celebration. A happy love song with a lot of energy to it."
  • Taylor credits the piano player on the song, Clarence McDonald, for being a big part of the song's success. When Taylor ran through the song, McDonald noticed a section with no vocals, which he filled with a little riff that Taylor called "that happy Munchkin song."
  • Like all of his early work, this was produced by Peter Asher, who was also Taylor's manager. In a Songfacts interview with Asher, he said: "I loved the song. I think that was Clarence McDonald, Lee Sklar, Russ Kunkel and Danny Kortchmar. I think Danny Kortchmar played the guitar lick, which James may have already written on his guitar as a part. I just remember trying to get a great take that rocked. It was a tune where I was really looking for some kind of R&B, irresistible groove to it. Nowadays, that's the kind of thing one would very often build by programming things, but these were the days when you just looked for the great take.

    I do remember taking pieces of vocal from another take, which I loved. He'd done some falsetto stuff at the end that was a slightly different tempo, so we had to do some extremely elaborate miniscule tape editing to make it all fit, which now would take two seconds in Pro Tools but then took a day with a razor blade."
  • This was used in the 1978 movie FM, and in the 1979 "I Want to Keep My Baby" episode of its spin-off series, WKRP in Cincinnati.
  • In a 1984 episode of Sesame Street, Taylor serenaded Oscar the Grouch with a version called "That Grouchy Face."

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