Keep On Smilin’ – Wet Willie | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#10); 1974

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

The blues-based bands of the British Invasion inspired Jimmy and Jack Hall of Mobile, Alabama to start their own band with Jimmy on sax, harp, and vocals, and Jack on bass. Originally called Fox, the Halls and their three fellow band members became Wet Willie in 1969. The next year Capricorn Records – home to the Allman Brothers Band – signed Wet Willie, and the boys relocated to Macon, GA. After two albums, neither of which captured the group’s on-stage magic, a live set appeared in 1973 and scraped the album chart for four weeks. Tom Dowd, who’d worked with everyone from Ray Charles to Aretha Franklin and Cream, was called in to produce Willie’s fourth album. Jimmy had sketched out some lyrical impressions of his new life in the Georgia countryside, and guitarist Rick Hirsch had an instrumental riff. Together they made up Keep On Smilin’: Wet Willie’s only Top 10 hit.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Tom Dowd

Lyrics Written by:

  • Jimmy Hall
  • Jack Hall
  • Ricky Hirsch
  • John David Anthony
  • Lewis Ross