SMILING & LAUGHING

71944As the saying goes: if you smile the whole world smiles with you. A genuine, infectious smile and/or laughter can make a bad date turn good, seal a business deal and make friends wherever you go. So, it was my job this week to put a smile on everyone’s face with an absolute abundance of songs about SMILING AND LAUGHING. What better way to open the show than with David Bowie’s attempt at a novelty song – THE LAUGHING GNOME – released as a single in 1967. I’m not sure that he was laughing all the way to the bank with that release, but hey, I got a kick out of it.

sly-fresh-cover-500x1Now I’ve discovered that not all songs about smiling and laughing are cheerful at all, which kind of threw me as I was hoping to enjoy a fully upbeat show this week.  But those renegade R&B singers, in particular, are prone to turning any song into a lover’s lament, but what can you do!  It was up to Sly & The Family Stone to deliver a very funky pop tune with YOU CAUGHT ME SMILIN’ to get the show moving in the right direction.

Winners of the prize for silliest band name ever has to be The The. Luckily, they are a very good band. We played what was probably their most successful track, UNCERTAIN SMILE, from the 1983 Soul Mining album. Jools Holland, in his role as session muso, played piano on the original recording. Here they are, without Jools, unfortunately, performing live.

It was inevitable that the 60’s soul singers would bring the sad clown into the mix. Mary Wells sang about her LAUGHING BOY and  Smokey Robinson and the Miracles reminded us of the paradox that is the TEARS OF A CLOWN, written, by the way, by Stevie Wonder. We needed to jump a couple of generations to entertain both sides of the love coin. Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas is madly in love with a particular girl, particularly WHEN SHE SMILES but that little vixen Lily Allen finds a bit of revenge on an ex-lover is all she needs to make her SMILE. The video made me smile, I know that much. Take a look:

Next it was Nat King Cole with IF YOU CAN’T SMILE AND SAY YES, recorded in 1946, which explains all the references to nylons and the like. The beautiful voice of Alison Krauss followed with her cover of WHEN YOU SAY NOTHING AT ALL. Krauss was already a veteran bluegrass fidler and vocalist at age 23 when the recording won the 1995 CMA award for “Single of the Year”. Take a look:

More R&B songs followed and, as expected,  smiling was a struggle: The Undisputed Truth were Motown hitmaker Norman Whitfield’s favourite band and their track, SMILING FACES SOMETIMES,Wendy Renerepossessed from the Temptations, was their only chart success. Wendy Rene’s song AFTER LAUGHTER (Comes Tears) was recorded on the Stax label in 1964. In 1967 Wendy was scheduled to fly with Otis Redding to what would have been her last live performance. She changed her mind at the last minute, wanting to stay home with her family. The plane crashed and Redding and six others perished. Thankfully Wendy is alive and well and resides today in Tennessee where she runs a publishing company.

album-20th-century-masters-the-millennium-collection-the-best-of-astrud-gilbertoThank goodness for reggae! Max Romeo and The Upsetters (great name) cheered us up with SMILE OUT A STYLE.  And you can always rely on the Jazz singers for inspiration. Astrud Gilberto does a stunning version of THE SHADOW OF YOUR SMILE that had to be included (Thanks Quentin for the suggestion).

I also love Regina Spektor and her song that questions God’s sense of humour – LAUGHING WITH – is beautiful. It’s from her latest album ‘Far’. Here’s the official clip:

Even more sad songs about smiling and laughing: Teddy Pendergrass’ has a problem with his ego. He reckons that THE WHOLE TOWN IS LAUGHING AT ME; Dusty Springfield is pining for  JUST ONE SMILE and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, milking the sad clown story for all its worth, gave us the much covered THE TRACKS OF MY TEARS. Happily, Bowling For Soup have got a completely different outlook on life. As their song SHUT UP AND SMILE states, all they need is love and beer. 

Happy to include three musical icons: Van Morrison with JACKIE WILSON SAID, Bob Dylan with IT TAKES A LOT TO LAUGH, IT TAKES A TRAIN TO CRY and Neil Young with THE OLD LAUGHING LADY.

We closed the show with Michael Jackson’s rendition of the classic ballad, SMILE. The song was originally used as an instrumental theme in the soundtrack for the 1936 film Modern Times and was written by comic genius Charlie Chaplin. Here’s a great video clip of Chaplin’s work with MJ singing SMILE over. Two of the best all-round entertainers the world has known:

Thanks to Quentin, Kira & Des for their help with the playlist this week. Remember, whatever happens: keep on smiling!

Here’s the complete playlist:

Children Laughing 0:07 FX 7
The Laughing Gnome 3:06 David Bowie David Bowie The Collection Rock 4
You Caught Me Smiling 2:54 Sly & The Family Stone Funk 6
Uncertain Smile 6:52 The The Soul Mining Alternative 5
Laughing Boy 2:53 Mary Wells Ultimate Collection R&B 6
The Tears Of A Clown 3:01 Smokey Robinson & the Miracles ’70 Motown Motown 5
When She Smiles 3:06 Matchbox 20 Pop 4
Smile 3:14 Lily Allen Triple J 14 Pop 2
If You Can’t Smile and Say Yes 2:21 Nat King Cole Embraceable You Jazz 7
The Smile On Your Face 4:21 Allison Krauss Country 5
We Laugh Indoors 4:58 Death Cab For Cutie The Photo Album Alternative 2
Smile Out A Style 3:34 Max Romeo & The Upsetters War Ina Babylon Reggae 2
After Laughter (Comes Tears) 3:02 Wendy Rene The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968 Disc 3 Classic Soul 2
Smiling Faces Sometimes 3:15 The Undisputed Truth Soul Hits Of The 70’s – Volu. Soul 4
Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) 4:01 Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel Lost and Found 4 1971-1976 Pop 2
The shadow of your smile 2:31 Astrud Gilberto Verve Jazz Masters 9 Lounge
Sara Smile 3:10 Hall & Oates Rock ‘n Soul, Pt. 1: Greatest Hits Rock 2
Laughing With 3:16 Regina Spektor Laughing With / Blue Lips – Single Alternative 2
The Whole Town Is Laughing At Me 4:29 Teddy Pendergrass Rhythmic Soul
The Tracks Of My Tears 2:56 Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 65 The Big Chill Motown 4
Just One Smile 2:40 Dusty Springfield 70’s The Silver Collection Pop 6
Shut Up and Smile 4:03 Bowling for Soup Punk 3
Male Laughing Hysterical 0:08 FX 5
Die Laughing 2:48 Therapy? Troublegum Alt Metal 1
The Old Laughing Lady 5:38 Neil Young Neil Young Rock
It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry 4:09 Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited Rock 8
Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile) 2:59 Van Morrison Classic Rock 11
Fooled By A Smile 4:05 Swing Out Sister Shapes and Patterns Pop
Smile Like You Mean It 4:00 The Killers Mr Brightside Rock 1
Smile At Me 2:56 Rocksteady Rock 3
Smile 4:56 Michael Jackson History CD2 Pop 3

The Laughing Gnome – David Bowie

You Caught Me Smiling – Sly & The Family Stone

Uncertain Smile  – The The

Laughing Boy – Mary Wells

The Tears Of A Clown – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

When She Smiles – Matchbox 20

Smile – Lily Allen

If You Can’t Smile and Say Yes – Nat King Cole

The Smile On Your Face – Allison Krauss

We Laugh Indoors – Death Cab For Cutie

Smile Out A Style – Max Romeo & The Upsetters

After Laughter (Comes Tears) – Wendy Rene

Smiling Faces Sometimes – The Undisputed Truth

Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) – Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel

The Shadow Of Your Smile – Astrud Gilberto

Sara Smile – Hall & Oates

Laughing With – Regina Spektor

The Whole Town Is Laughing At Me – Teddy Pendergrass

The Tracks Of My Tears – Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 

Just One Smile – Dusty Springfield 

Shut Up and Smile – Bowling for Soup

Die Laughing – Therapy?

The Old Laughing Lady – Neil Young

It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry – Bob Dylan

Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile) – Van Morrison

Fooled By A Smile – Swing Out Sister

Smile Like You Mean It – The Killers

Smile At Me  – Rocksteady

Smile – Michael Jackson

Next week: UNREQUITED LOVE.
Listen to Lyn McCarthy at the Theme Park on BayFM, Tuesdays 2-4pm, Sydney time.             

Also streaming on http://www.bayfm.org

Tragically also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/maccalyn

 

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About Lyn McCarthy

Lyn presents a weekly radio show at BayFM 99.9 in beautiful Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia

Posted on October 13, 2009, in Broadcasting and media, community radio, music - nostalgia, music, blues, music, country, music, r&b, music, soul, Radio Program, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I Can’t Smile Without You by Barry Manilow

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