“Make Me Smile” is a song written by James Pankow for the rock band Chicago with the band’s guitarist, Terry Kath, on lead vocals. Part 1 of Pankow’s 7-part Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon song cycle/suite, it was recorded for their second album, Chicago (often called Chicago II), which was released in 1970.
A radio-friendly edit of “Make Me Smile” (incorporating the end of “Now More Than Ever,” the final track from the Ballet) was released as a single in March 1970, becoming the band’s first Top 10 record, peaking at number nine on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. When
released their compilation album The Very Best of: Only the Beginning in 2002, they featured a new edit of the song, with the
“Make Me Smile”
and “Now More Than Ever” parts segued together again, but without the numerous cuts—the full intro and the guitar solo of the former part, and the full outro of the latter part, were thus included.
Since the death of Terry Kath in 1978, the vocals for live performances of “Make Me Smile” were handled by Bill Champlin, who joined the band for the recording of Chicago 16, until he departed the group in August 2009. On shows that Champlin did not attend, Robert Lamm sang the lead vocal. Champlin’s replacement Lou Pardini has now taken over the singing of “Make Me Smile”.