The song of the day for Thursday, April 16, 2015 is “Smile.”
About This Song
Charlie Chaplin wrote “Smile” in 1936 for his last silent film, Modern Times, which shows Chaplin and his costar Paulette Goddard, walking hand-in-hand up the road as the sun rises and as this song plays, in one of the most iconic scenes ever filmed. The lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons were added later. This song is a favorite of Tony Bennett’s and he sings “Smile” at the end of his concerts. And I always cry a little bit.
About This Version
Tony Bennett has recorded this song several times. Today I chose his first recording from 1959. It was released as a single; this same version was also used on his wonderful The Movie Song Album. This version was arranged and conducted by Ralph Burns.
The composer of “Smile,” Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin was born one hundred and twenty-six years ago, April 16. 1889 in Walworth, UK. Both of his parents were actors and singers. When he was only ten, his father died and his mother’s illness meant that Charles and his brother Sydney had to be on their own. Charles started his career as a tap dancer in a group called “The Eight Lancashire Lads.” This led to offers on the legitimate stage and more opportunities in vaudeville. In 1910, he came to the United States, where his vaudeville act brought him much popularity. In 1913, he got his first Hollywood contract with Mack Sennett and Keystone Film Company. In only four years, he was ready to branch out on his own and formed his own film studio. it was during this time he developed his “Little Tramp” character, as seen in one of his very early hits, The Kid, filmed in 1921, which introduced Jackie Coogan. It was followed by films that are still seen and treasured today: The Gold Rush, The Circus, City Lights, Modern Times and The Great Dictator.
For more information about Charlie Chaplin and his career, please visit his official website at charliechaplin.com.
“Smile,” as well as The Columbia Singles, Vol. 6, is available from iTunes.
Here’s the very end of Modern Times, with Charles Chaplin and the exquisite Paulette Goddard.