Sanpaulo – Smile A Little Smile For Me

by | Apr 23, 2018 | Song of the Day

“Smile A Little Smile For Me” relates the abjectly horrible tale of a man who has been friendzoned by a soul-devouring user named Rosemarie. The poor sap has to sit there at the Applebee’s bar and listen as the teary-eyed Rosemarie sobs about how some guy (who finally came to his senses) ghosted her again and she concludes her soliloquy with the hopeful entreaty, “Do you think he’ll ever come back?” To which our hero, playing his best Jimmy Olsen card to the out-of-his league Lois Lane, responds:

You really should accept
This time he’s gone for good
He’ll never come back now
Even though he said he would

What a sucker. And then he makes his big play, attempting to accomplish the impossible by flipping over from Friend Zone to Rebound Relationship:

So many other guys
Would give the world I’m sure
To wear the shoes he wore…
Oh, c’mon smile a little smile for me, Rosemarie

Sickening. I can picture the insipid little grin on his face, the upraised eyebrows, he probably even playfully chucks her under the chin. Meanwhile Rosemarie is checking Instagram to see if that cute guy in her history class “Liked” the picture of her in the Japanese schoolgirl outfit.

“Smile A Little Smile For Me” was originally a #5 hit for The Flying Machine in 1969. Sanpaulo updates the old chestnut with a David Bowiesque vocal and a haunting rhythm section that mirrors the zombiefied cast in our hero’s eyes after Rosemarie squeals “I’m so glad we had this talk!” then gives him a perfunctory hug before rushing out into the night to meet her latest Tinder match, leaving Jimmy Olsen staring at two unfinished strawberry margaritas and the unpaid check.

The track was written by Geoff Stephens and Tony Macaulay. Together and separately, they were responsible for a long slew of hit records. Geoff Steven penned “The Crying Game” as well as the improbable Wayne Newton hit, “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast.” Not to be undercut, Tony Macaulay is responsible for David Soul’s soulless 1977 smash, “Don’t Give Up On Us.”

“Smile A Little Smile For Me” is the new digital single from Sanpaulo, backed by “Goin’ Back,” a 1966 Byrds song by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Sanpaulo aka Saint Paul is Paul Nini aka “the guy that runs the Old 3C Label Group,” which is based in Columbus, Ohio and is described as “the Midwest’s premiere micro-indie label group.” On his Bandcamp page, we learn that Paul has “been putting out solo releases since 1997, and has been in bands that include Househearts, Great Plains, Peck Of Snide, Log, and Closet Mix.”

You can support deserving independent musicians like Paul Nini by visiting his Bandcamp page, listening to his songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. Be sure to follow Sanpaulo on Facebook, and follow Old 3C Label Group on Facebook and Twitter.

Charles Norman is a writer and historian. His interests include music, the movies of Wes Anderson and Christopher Guest, and The Office.  Email:

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