Said to be one of Michael Jackson 's favorite songs, and sung lovingly at his memorial a year ago almost exactly by his brother Jermaine , this week's Mashup Monday goes all the way back to 1936 to famed silent film comedian Charlie Chaplin 's bittersweet "Smile" as sung sweetly with a jazzy twist by hip-hop/R&B/pop mashup-unto-herself Janelle Monae .
Composed as a theme for a key moment in Chaplin's classic Great Depression-era movie "Modern Times," the last of the great silents and a commentary on the pitfalls of fully industrial 20th century life, "Smile" is one of those few songs that became a standard, recorded by everyone from the big-band era well into the age of hip-hop.
"Emotionally, I've been connected to this song for quite sometime," says Bad Boy artist Monae of why she chose to cover this song written nearly a half century before she was born. "It's one of those classic standards, it's been sung by a lot of the greats, Stevie Wonder  to Nat King Cole to Judy Garland to Frank Sinatra."
It was Wonder's version, recorded in 1962, that was her introduction to the song; it made her cry the first time she heard it.
Michael Jackson, of course, also covered the song on his 1995 album "HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I." And the song was so important to the King of Pop that it was sung at his memorial.
- Mashup Mondays