The song was first performed at Gilmour's 2001 and 2002 live shows (and also on the accompanying DVD) where Gilmour introduced it as "This is a new one so if you are bootlegging, start your machines now." It was eventually recorded at his houseboat studio, the Astoria, for the 2006 album On an Island. The song is in 3/4 time.
During the three nights at the Royal Albert Hall during his On an Island Tour in 2006, empty CD wallets bearing the Smile single cover, and a CD-sticker were left on seats of audience members who would discover them on arrival, each one bearing a unique number. The idea was to download the single from iTunes, burn it to a CD-R, place the CD shaped sticker onto the burnt CD and keep it in the wallet.[original research?]
"Island Jam" was initially available via Gilmour's website before being made more widely available.
An unmastered form of "Smile" can be heard briefly on the BBC2 show Three Men in a Boat which retraced a trip on the River Thames, and visited the houseboat.