This was written as a riposte when the original lineup of Cockney Rebel walked out on Steve Harley. The song tells the story of the first incarnation of the band.
When he performed the song on Top Of The Pops, although the instrumental backing was mimed, Harley performed a live vocal and promptly forgot most of the second and third verses.
Suggestion credit: Shelley - Stoke-on-Trent, England
The acoustic, flamenco-styled guitar solo was originally a soundcheck warm-up that was captured on tape and later used when it was realized it added to the song.
In 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, Steve Harley recalls the end of Cockney Rebel version 1: "We split up because they wanted to to take my leadership away. They wanted to dilute it and Make Me Smile is saying 'Come back one day and I'll laugh.' It was arrogant but I knew they were wrong - they didn't understand the group like I did." In the song Steve accuses them of selling out and sings, "You spoilt the game, no matter what you say, for only metal-what a bore."
Steve adds in 1000 UK #1 Hits: "There are 120 cover versions of Make Me Smile, but only The Wedding Present have done it differently. They did a punk version and made it kick. They understood the venom in the lyrics."
Suggestion credit: Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for above 4
This song also featured prominently in the 1998 cult film Velvet Goldmine, about the rise and fall of Glam (or Glitter) Rock. The film's main character is based on David Bowie's character of Ziggy Stardust. Bowie disapproved of the film and refused to allow his music to be used, so a variety of other Glam and Glam-influenced tracks were used instead.
Suggestion credit: Terry - NYC, NY
Harley started writing the song within days of the old Cockney Rebel breaking up. He told Uncut magazine January 2012 the first verse ("You've done it all, you've broken every code/And pulled the rebel to the floor"), "was probably written at four in the morning after a bottle of brandy, feeling sorry for myself."
The song was originally written as a slow blues, but producer Alan Parsons suggested speeding it up. He recalled to Uncut: "It was a little dirgy, slower and a little pedestrian, very on the beat. I changed it to a way I thought worked much better with the girls."
Paul from Chicago IllinoisThe song brought me out of deep inner BS and put a smile on me face. Can't forget the scene in White Teeth the Zadie Smith novel, made into a TV movie. Archie was standing at the bottom of the stairs and his Jamaican goddess beckons him.
Anthony Bravington from UkOther songs by Steve Harley, What about Sebastion?. That was surely the one which, though it wasn't a big success, got him noticed?
Hugh from Oxford, Oxfordshire, United KingdomI heard this song on the medical drama House, MD It was used during the scene where Greg (House) and Alvie play foosball. It was used during the football (soccer for all you yanks) scenes in the Full Monty.
Marc from Liverpool, United KingdomI met him once in a bar in Liverpool, he is a charming man and spent ther whole afternoon chatting and drinking with a couple of us, a little known fact is that steve has polio and as a youngster wore a caliper on his leg.
Terry from Nyc, NyThis track was also prominently featured in the cult film Velvet Goldmine, about the rise and fall of the 1970's decadent glam rock era. The film's main character Brian Slade, was based on David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust character. Bowie disapproved of the film , so a variety of other glam era and glam-influenced music was used instead.
Capone from Glasgow, United KingdomThe song has been reissued twice - a 1992 release reached Number 46; and a 1995 release reached Number 33 after being used in the Carlsberg TV advertisement.
Tricky from Swindon, United Kingdomlove it love it has to be played LOUD and gets me dancing EVERY TIME fond memories of the 70s xxx
Andy from London, EnglandThe best cover of this that I've heard was by 70's glam rocker Suzi Quatro!
Dan from Renmark, Australialuv this song, a classic that brings back memories of the 70's. listening to music like the eagles, chicago, boston, supertramp, foreigner, kate bush, david essex, leo sayer. and in australia, ac/dc, angels, radiators, midnight oil & cold chisel.
Paul from Galway, IrelandGreat song. An oldie, but a goodie.
Brian from Nr Woodstock, Oxon., EnglandThere's a cracking acoustic version of Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) by Steve Harley on an album called "Stripped To The Bare Bones". The album is recorded live in the UK and is just Steve and another musician who's name for the moment escapes me. Good excuse to dig out the album and play it tonight!
Dean from Pune, IndiaThe song has been covered more than 100 times in seven languages and has been featured in the movie THE FULL MONTY. Steve Harley rocks!!!!