Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Smile—Murfin Home Confinement Music Festival 2020

Smile by Charlie Chaplain sung by Nat King Cole.

Lady Gaga’s performance of Smile the other night on the One World: Together At Home TV special reminded me of just how apt the song is to our days of Coronavirus angst.  I encourage you to find it on YouTube.  But today we are listening to Nat King Cole’s 1954 hit.

Charlie Chaplain as the Little Tramp and Paulette Godard as the Gamin in Modern Times.

Smile is based on an instrumental theme used in the soundtrack for Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 movie Modern Times. Chaplin’s own composition was the inspired by Puccini’s opera Tosca.  It reflected the bitter sweet story of the Little Tramp’s love for the urchin girl  called the Gamin played by his real life wife Paulette Godard.

John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons added the lyrics and title in 1954 based on lines and themes from the film.  Nat King Cole’s recording went to #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #2 on the UK Singles Chart.  Other memorable recordings or performances of the song were made by Jimmy Durante, Judy Garland on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1963, Barbra Steisand, Sammy Davis Jr., Natalie Cole, and Michael Jackson.

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