Smile

Album: The Ultimate Tony Bennett (1959)
Charted: 73

Songfacts®:

  • Although he is remembered today principally as a comedian, the multi-disciplined Charlie Chaplin was also a composer. He wrote "Smile" as an instrumental for the 1936 production Modern Times, his final silent film (which inspired the Al Stewart song of the same name). The lyrics were added later by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons, and like the music, match the tone of the film. It was not a hit until 1959 when it was recorded by Tony Bennett, although Nat King Cole's version charted in the UK five years earlier. "Smile" has been covered by numerous artists including Lita Roza, Petula Clark (twice), Barbra Streisand and Diana Ross. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • Michael Jackson recorded this on his 1995 album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. Shortly after Jackson's death, his brother Jermaine appeared on The Today Show, where Matt Lauer asked him what song he hears Michael singing when he closes his eyes at night. Jermaine replied: "I love 'Smile' and I'll tell you why. We were very close to the Chaplin family. Charlie Chaplin wrote that song, and Michael loved Charlie Chaplin. I sing it all the time in the shower."

    At Jackson's memorial service on July 7, 2009, Brooke Shields said that this was his favorite song. Jermaine then performed the song.
  • Michael Jackson co-produced his version of the song with David Foster; Jeremy Lubbock did the orchestration and Bruce Swedien conducted. According to Swedien, Jackson did his vocal live with the orchestra. He says that Jackson was very gracious and came to to thank the orchestra when they were finished, at which point the musicians applauded by tapping their bows.
  • Lady Gaga performed this to open the One World: Together At Home concert, broadcast on April 18, 2020 to help out frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Comments: 2

  • Frederic from VirginiaSome years ago one of the teenage girls in our community was killed by her boyfriend. In the funeral service one of her girl friends sang this song, unaccompanied, from the organ loft in the rear of the church. It was one of the most moving moments of my 78 years.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 10th 1962, Ferrante & Teicher's instrumental covered version of "Smile" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #98; and the following week it rose to #95 and that was also its last week on the Top 100...
    And besides Mr. Bennett's, two other covered versions made the Top 100; Timi Yuro's peak at #42 in 1961 and in 1965 the version by Jerry Butler & Betty Everett's also reached #42.
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