I heard this song clearly and properly only when Jermaine Jackson sang it very beautifully in memory of MJ at his memorial service, after which I made it a point to listen to the MJ version with a lot more intent. I must confess that I could not catch the words very clearly until I heard Nat King Cole croon it.
The words for this song are written by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons and the music has been orchestrated by Charlie Chaplin. This beautiful yet heart touch song appeared in Charlie Chaplin’s last silent-comedy film called “Modern Times” which was released in 1936.
I must admit this is one of the saddest songs that I’ve heard. Unlike what the writer / singer tries to say, you can’t help feeling the sorrow he has in his heart when he wrote / sang the song. He might’ve been upbeat for all I know, but I don’t read the words, I hear them. And I cannot seem to feel beyond the haunting melancholy. The song, more than asking you to be positive, has sparks of helplessness. It seems to be telling you that if you can’t change the situation you are in, don’t mull over it but look past it and smile, make yourself believe that everything will be alright eventually. Sleep over all your miseries and smile a smile that starts from your heart and ends in your eyes, not one that is merely a curve on your face. Read the lyrics and decide for yourself:
Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though its 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…….