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Smile (Charlie Chaplin song)

Song by Nat King Cole
Published 1936 (Instrumental theme), 1954 (Lyrics added to song)
Writer John Turner
Geoffrey Parsons
Composer Charlie Chaplin
Language English
Nat King Cole

"Smile" is a song based on an instrumental theme used in the soundtrack for the 1936 Charlie Chaplin movie Modern Times. Chaplin composed the music, while John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons added the lyrics and title in 1954.[1] In the lyrics, based on lines and themes from the film, the singer is telling the listener to cheer up and that there is always a bright tomorrow, just as long as they smile. "Smile" has become a popular standard since its original use in Chaplin's film. It was used as the theme song on NBC-TV'S The Jerry Lewis Show from 1967-69.


  • Nat King Cole version 1
  • Michael Jackson version 2
    • Track listing 2.1
    • Charts 2.2
  • Josh Groban version 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Nat King Cole version

Nat King Cole, the first with lyrics, charted in 1954. It reached Number 10 on the Billboard charts, and Number 2 in the UK Singles Chart.

Michael Jackson version

The cover of the cancelled single
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I
Released January 20, 1998
Format CD single, 12" single
Recorded March 11–12, 1995 at the Olympic Studio, London, England (UK)
Genre Soul
Length 4:55 (album version)
4:10 (short version)
Label Epic
Writer(s) Charlie Chaplin (music)
John Turner, Geoffrey Parsons (lyrics)
Producer(s) David Foster
Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Is It Scary"
"You Rock My World"
HIStory Continues track listing
"Little Susie"

Singer Michael Jackson recorded the song for his 1995 double album HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I. It was planned to be released as the eighth and final single from the album in 1998. Only a few copies from the Netherlands, Germany and South Africa (where the record distribution was started previous to the withdrawal) were saved as the other copies were withdrawn.

James Hunter of Rolling Stone wrote a negative review: "the climactic version of Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" has zero point of view on itself; its blend of rampaging ego and static orchestral pop is a Streisand-size mistake."[2] Entertainment Weekly called this version of the song a "destined-for-Disney rendition."[3]

In 2009 at Jackson's memorial, his brother Jermaine Jackson sang a version of the song in Michael's honor.

Track listing

CD maxi single[4]

  1. "Smile" (short version) – 4:10
  2. "Is It Scary" (radio edit) – 4:11
  3. "Is It Scary" (Eddie's Love Mix Edit) – 3:50
  4. "Is It Scary" (Downtempo Groove Mix) – 4:50
  5. "Is It Scary" (Deep Dish Dark and Scary Radio Edit) – 4:34

12" maxi single[4]

  • A1. "Smile" – 4:55
  • A2. "Is It Scary" (Deep Dish Dark and Scary Remix) – 12:07
  • B1. "Is It Scary" (Eddie's Rub-a-Dub Mix) – 5:00
  • B2. "Is It Scary" (Eddie's Love Mix) – 8:00
  • B3. "Off the Wall" (Junior Vasquez Remix) – 4:57

Promotional single

  1. "Smile" (short version) – 4:10

Promotional CD single

  1. "Smile" (short version) – 4:10
  2. "Is It Scary" (radio edit) – 4:11


Chart (2009) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Digital Songs 56[5]
Chart (2009) Peak
UK Singles Chart 74[6]
Swiss Singles Chart 70[7]

Josh Groban version

Josh Groban recorded a cover of the song, and released it in 2006 as a digital single and a bonus track on internet exclusive editions of his Awake album.[8][9] He performed the song in some of his concerts as well as the annual Capitol Fourth concert of 2011, broadcast on PBS.[10]


  1. ^ Linda Wada. "Smile". Edna Purviance, Charlie Chaplin's Leading Lady - Welcome to Paradise. Retrieved 2010-05-02. Scans of the sheet music clearly attribute authorship of the music and lyrics. 
  2. ^ (Posted: Aug 10, 1995) (1995-08-10). "Michael Jackson: HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Archived from the original on 2008-08-04. Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  3. ^ David Browne on Jun 23, 1995 (1995-06-23). "HIStory: Past, Present, and Future Book I Review | Music Reviews and News". Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  4. ^ a b "MICHAEL JACKSON - SMILE (SONG) - CD Info". 
  5. ^ U.S. Billboard Hot Digital Songs
  6. ^ "Michael Jackson | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  7. ^ Steffen Hung. "Michael Jackson - Smile". Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^

External links

External video
Chaplin's original sound on YouTube: Modern Times. (0:40:22-, 0:42:44-, 0:52:16-, 1:06:39-, and full version 1:21:25-)
  • Michael Jackson Smile lyrics at MetroLyrics
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