CIRCLEVILLE – “When My Baby Smiles At Me” the theme song of Circleville’s Ted Lewis, was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame earlier this month.
The song was composed in 1919 by Canadian pianist Billy Munro (a member of the Ted Lewis Band between 1919 and 1920) with lyrics by Ted Lewis and Andrew Sterling.
The song was first introduced by Ted Lewis and his Jazz Band in the Greenwich Village Follies of 1919 which opened in New York on July 15, 1919, and ran for 232 performances. Lewis recorded the song on Dec. 9, 1919, for Columbia Records and it hit the number one spot on the charts for seven weeks (competing with Al Jolson’s recording of “Swanee”). This 1919 recording is now available on the Ted Lewis Museum’s brand new CD “Ted Lewis and his Jazz Band – Runnin’ Wild: The Early Years 1919-1926.” The CD is available for purchase at the museum or on the museum’s website, www.tedlewismuseum.org
Lewis adopted “When My Baby Smiles at Me,” with its distinctive musical “laughing” trombone, as his theme song and performed it at every appearance throughout his 50-year career. The song was re-recorded by Lewis in 1926, 1938 and 1957 and performed on film in “Here Comes the Band” (1935), “Hold That Ghost” (1941) and “Is Everybody Happy” (1941).
“When My Baby Smiles at Me” has become a standard in the American popular songbook and has also been recorded by such diverse artists as Benny Goodman (who got his start in the Ted Lewis Band), Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, and Roger Williams.
The Ted Lewis Museum in Circleville is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Ted Lewis. Admission to the museum is free and it is open every Friday and Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.