"Sara Smile" is the title of a song written and recorded by the American musical duo Hall & Oates. It was released in January 1976 as the second single from their album Daryl Hall & John Oates. The song was the group's first Top 10 hit in the US, reaching number four on the Billboard Hot 100. In late 2009, American country music singer Jimmy Wayne released a cover version with a backing vocal from the duo. In 2012, the British singer, Rumer, released a cover version on her album, Boys Don't Cry. That album is entirely populated by songs written by male songwriters in the 1970s.
"Sara Smile" was the second single released from Hall & Oates' 1975 self-titled album for RCA Records. Co-written by both halves of the duo, it was Hall & Oates's breakthrough single, with a #4 peak on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1976. It was written about Hall's then-girlfriend, Sara Allen. The couple was together for almost 30 years before breaking up in 2001.
This section requires expansion with: More in-depth critical reception. (October 2009)
Nathan Brackett and Christian Hoard, in the Rolling Stone album guide, referred to the song as a "love bead ballad," and Steve Pond of the Los Angeles Times cited it as an example of the duo's R&B influences. Following the success of "Sara Smile," the Atlantic Records label re-released the duo's previous single, "She's Gone."
Country music singer Jimmy Wayne released a cover version in 2009, with backing vocals from Hall & Oates. This version debuted at #51 on the Hot Country Songs chart dated October 3, 2009 and serves as the title track for Wayne's third album, Sara Smile. It became Hall & Oates' first single to chart on the country charts.
Sam Gazdziak of The 9513 gave the song a thumbs-down, saying that it was "almost reverential" to the original and that Wayne's vocals showed R&B influences, but added that it "has no business being played on a country radio station." Bobby Peacock of Roughstock gave a more positive review, also saying that it was well-sung but not country-sounding, but adding that it was a "refreshing change of pace" from the "bombast of Do You Believe Me Now", Wayne's last album. Thom Jurek described the cover favorably in his review of the album, saying that Wayne "basically apes Hall's lead vocal[…]note for note" but "pulls it off in spades."