Spread a Little Happiness

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"Spread a Little Happiness" is a song by the musical comedy composer Vivian Ellis and writer Clifford Grey from their 1929 West End musical Mr. Cinders. In the original production it was sung by Binnie Hale as the character Jill Kemp;[1][2][3] a recording of her performance of the song was released by Columbia in 1929.[4]

The English musician Sting covered the song for the soundtrack of the film Brimstone and Treacle. In 1982 it reached number 16 on the UK Pop chart.[5] In the same year, the song was sung in a revival of Mr Cinders at the King's Head Theatre, London and later at the Fortune Theatre after the show was transferred there. In this revised version the song was sung by Jim Lancaster, the male lead, rather than by Jill.[1]

The song was used as the theme tune for a 2009 BBC Radio 4 comedy series of the same title, written by John Godber and Jane Thornton, set in a Yorkshire sandwich bar.[6]


  1. ^ a b Gänzl and Lamb, pp. 131–132
  2. ^ "Adelphi Theatre", The Times, 12 February 1929, pg. 12
  3. ^ Gordon and Jubin, p. 179
  4. ^ Columbia black & gold no. 5334; matrix A8686
  5. ^ "Chart positions". bebo.com. Retrieved 24 September 2008.
  6. ^ "Spread a Little Happiness, Series 1, Episode 1". BBC Radio 4 Extra. 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014.


  • Gänzl, Kurt; Andrew Lamb (1988). Gänzl's Book of the Musical Theatre. London: The Bodley Head. OCLC 966051934.
  • Gordon, Robert; Olaf Jubin (2017). The Oxford Handbook of the British musical. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-19-998874-7.