Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Music: Smile

The music for the song, “Smile” was written by Charles Spencer Chaplin, who is more often remembered for his silent movies. When I worked at St. Andrew’s Foundation, I had two pictures hanging in my office.  On one wall was St. Francis of Assisi, on the other wall was Charlie Chaplin. Charlie Chaplin was a creative genius. He also had his share of personal struggles and controversies. 

Chaplin wrote the musical score originally for the movie Modern Times. Geoffrey Parsons and John Turner later wrote the lyrics for "Smile" to go with the music. The words seem to exemplify the life that Chalpin lived. In the movie, Chaplin, starring Robert Downey, Jr., there us a scene in which Charlie Chaplin goes back to England to visit his mother who has been committed to a mental institution. The musical score for the line, "Smile though your heart is breaking..." is playing in the background of that scene. 

Charlie Chaplin had a gift for holding sorrow and delight in one single image. Maybe that is why “The Tramp” has become such an enduring American icon.


Many have recorded the song, but Nat King Cole was the first. Here is Cole's song along with images of Charlie Chaplin.




Smile
(Words by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons
music by Charlie Chaplin)

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

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