Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra and Harry MacDonough
Writer(s): Lee Roberts (music), J. Will Callahan (words) (see lyrics here)
First Charted: August 10, 1918
Peak: 11 US, 112 GA, 114 SM (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 3.0 (sheet music)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.02 video, -- streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
This “wartime morale booster” TY2 was introduced in the revue The Passing Show of 1918 by Nell Carrington and a chorus of girls. TY2 Part of the song’s popularity may be attributed to it being a song that came out during the Great War, but wasn’t directly about it. It gave “soldiers and their loved ones back home a break from the war.” TY2
Composer Lee Roberts was at a convention and heard a lecture on the value of a smile in business. He wrote a melody along with some suggested lyrics, including the line “There are smiles that make us happy and smiles that make us blue” and sent it to J. Will Callahan. He expanded it into a full song.
“Smiles” “was a break from the military marching music of the past few years and was very modern for its era allowing the showcasing of the musicians with a vocalist secondary to the overall sound of the record, a style that would dominate the first half of the decade of the 1920s.” SM
Joseph C. Smith’s Orchestra took the song to #1 in 1918. “Joseph Cyrus Smith was born in New York City in 1883 and before the war, he was leader of his own dance band which had a residency at the Plaza Hotel in New York.” SM His version featured vocals from Harry MacDonough. SM There were also versions that year from Henry Burr & Albet Campbell (#3) and Lambert Murphy (#5). PM The song was used in several movies, including Applause (1929), For Me and My Girl (1942), The Dolly Sisters (1945), Somebody Loves Me (1952), and The Eddy Duchin Story (1956).
First posted 3/20/2023.