Smiles (1917)

Vocal Range
Vocal Range


Composer Roberts wrote the tune after attending a music dealer's conference where a speaker emphasized the value of a smile in doing business. Asking his friend Callahan to write the lyric, Roberts was unable to interest any publisher in the song, so he published it himself. To a public that was enduring the strain of the war in Europe (which the U.S. had not yet entered), the song evidently came as a welcome respite, and within a year had sold two million copies. Chicago's Fine Arts Building (listed by Roberts as his address) still exists, with full-time elevator operators, and continues to provide studios and offices for many music teachers and arts organizations.

One editorial change was made, on page 3, third system, second measure: we added a natural sign for the Bs in the right hand; it's possible the composer intended the dissonance, but we felt it more likey to have been omitted by mistake.


Dearie, now I know
Just what makes me love you so,
Just what holds me and enfolds me
In its golden glow.
Dearie, now I see
’Tis each smile so bright and free;
For life’s sadness turns to gladness
When you smile on me.

There are smiles that make us happy,
There are smiles that make us blue,
There are smiles that steal away the teardrops,
As the sunbeams steal away the dew.
There are smiles that have a tender meaning,
That the eyes of love alone may see,
And the smiles that fill my life with sunshine
Are the smiles that you give to me.

Dearie, when you smile,
Everything in life’s worthwhile;
Love grows fonder as we wander
Down each magic mile.
Cheery melodies
Seem to float upon the breeze;
Doves are cooing while they’re wooing
In the leafy trees.

There are smiles...