Good Funeral Music: "Smile When Your Heart is Aching"

A young lady sang "Smile" for her deceased grandfather at our funeral home yesterday and people in attendance felt their hearts dissolve. Folks buried their heads in their hands. It was gorgeous. "Smile" was written in 1936 by Charlie Chaplin, of all people, and the melody was used in the film "Modern Times." Nat King Cole and Judy Garland recorded it in the 1950s when lyrics were added. There are now two Garland versions online--she sang it differently every time--but what follows is the best to study (despite poor video quality) for funeral use.

"Smile" was Michael Jackson's favorite song--or so said Brooke Shields in her eulogy to him--and his life's story (like Judy's) imbued his recording with extra meaning. Here's brother Jermaine singing it with great emotion at Jackson's funeral July 7, 2009, Staples Center, Los Angeles.




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 With your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow You'll find that life is still worthwhile If you just...

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...