Song Lyric Sunday — Make Me Smile

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has given us songs about “fix” or “make. Two songs immediately came to mind for me. One was Bonnie Raitt’s 1991 song, “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” a very sad song. The other was Chicago’s first big hit in 1970, “Make Me Smile,” a happy song. I decided to go happy this week.

“Make Me Smile” was a song written by James Pankow for the rock band Chicago with the band’s guitarist, Terry Kath, on lead vocals. The song was actually the first section from the 13-minute musical suite “Ballet for a Girl from Buchannon” on the group’s second album, Chicago (often called Chicago II), which was released in 1970.

Without the band’s knowledge, their record company excerpted the “Make Me Smile” section of the suite and pushed it to AM radio stations, which had thus far ignored the band. While the band had mixed emotions upon hearing their musical masterpiece chopped down for radio play, they were quite happy when the song became their first top ten hit, peaking at number nine on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The success of “Make Me Smile” triggered renewed interest in the group’s two prior releases from 1969 which had previously failed to reach the U.S. Top 40. the record company went back to the group’s first album and edited down three more songs, which they released as singles: “Questions 67 And 68,” “Beginnings,” and “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”

After Chicago’s original guitar player/vocalist Terry Kath, who sang lead on this song died in 1978, other members of the band, including Bill Champlin and Robert Lamm, would handle the vocals when they performed the song live.

In an interview with James Pankow, he said of the song, “Relationships, if they’re good, put a big smile on our faces. Love songs have always been a powerful ingredient in the song’s process. The songwriting process has often taken writers to that place.”

Here are the lyrics to “Make Me Smile.

Children play in the park, they don’t know
I’m alone in the dark, even though
Time and time again I see your face smiling inside

I’m so happy (oh, oh)
That you love me (oh, oh)
Life is lovely (whoa)
When you’re near me

Tell me you will stay
Make me smile

Living life is just a game so they say
All the games we used to play fade away
We may now enjoy the dreams we shared so long ago

Oh my darling
Got to have you
Feel the magic
When I hold you

Cry sweet tears of joy
Touch the sky

Now I need you (oh, yeah)
More than ever (oh, yeah)
No more crying (ohh, ohh)
We’re together

Tell me you will stay
Make me smile

12 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Make Me Smile

  1. bushboy May 2, 2021 / 3:54 am

    I love Chicago 2. So many great songs I like 25 or 6 to 4 and actually the whole LP. I enjoyed listening to this while looking at posts. Thanks Fandango 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango May 2, 2021 / 9:07 am

      I’m a big Chicago fan. Glad you enjoyed the song. Did it make you smile?

      Liked by 1 person

      • bushboy May 2, 2021 / 4:24 pm

        and dance It’s a pity so many of the original members are gone. Such a great sound 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. newepicauthor May 2, 2021 / 6:54 am

    Great choice fandango. The Chicago II album peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 chart and it was a million-seller.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango May 2, 2021 / 9:15 am

      I think I had all of their albums up through Chicago VII.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. John Holton May 2, 2021 / 12:08 pm

    Excellent choice! I had all their albums through XI– after Terry died, I figured “who cares?”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. leigha66 May 8, 2021 / 7:15 pm

    Good choice. Don’t remember hearing this one on the radio.

    Liked by 1 person

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