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High Hopes (Frank Sinatra song)

"High Hopes"
Song by Frank Sinatra from the album All the Way
Released 1959 (1959) (single);
1961 (album version)
Genre Show tune
Writer Sammy Cahn[1]
Composer Jimmy Van Heusen[1]
Language English

"High Hopes" is a popular song first popularized by Frank Sinatra, with music written by Jimmy Van Heusen and lyrics by Sammy Cahn.[1] It was introduced by Sinatra and child actor Eddie Hodges in the 1959 film A Hole in the Head, nominated for a Grammy and won an Oscar for Best Original Song at the 32nd Academy Awards.[1]


The song describes two scenarios where animals do seemingly impossible acts. First, an ant moves a rubber tree plant by itself, then a ram single-handedly destroys a "billion kilowatt dam." The desires of these animals are described as "pie in the sky," although the song implies they ultimately accomplish them. The song finishes comparing troubles and hardships and sorrows to balloons; the problem has gone away when the balloon is popped.


Frank Sinatra

"High Hopes" was recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1959 in a hit version, featuring a children's chorus, which was included in a 1961 Sinatra album, All the Way. The tune reached #30 on the Billboard Hot 100.[citation needed] The track peaked at #6 in the UK Singles Chart.[1] Frank Sinatra recorded a version of the tune with different lyrics which was used as the theme song for the 1960 Presidential Campaign of John Kennedy.[2]

Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis Jr. performed the song with a chorus of children at the 32nd Academy Awards ceremony, where it won the award for Best Original Song.

Doris Day

Doris Day recorded the song for the 1964 album With a Smile and a Song. Her version was used in the 1998 film Antz.[3]

Harry Kalas

The song also was popularized in Philadelphia by Phillies play-by-play announcer Harry Kalas, who made the song his personal anthem. Kalas sang "High Hopes" after the Phillies won the 1993 National League Championship, and again after the 2008 World Series.[4] Beginning after his death, after each home Phillies win, the home fans sing the song while the lyrics and a video of Kalas are played on the scoreboard above Harry the K's restaurant in left field.

Sammy Cahn

Taking up the sentiments expressed in the song, the Boston-based Joslin Diabetes Center "High Hopes Fund" was established in 1993 by the estate of Sammy Cahn.[citation needed] The former Joslin patient and songwriter's goal was to provide hope and encouragement to kids with diabetes while supporting research into the causes of the disease.

Popular culture

  • Laverne and Shirley - The leads sing this song in various episodes when they feel disheartened.
  • Captain Kangaroo (many episodes)
  • The Simpsons (episode 1F01 - "Rosebud")
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8 - In chapter one, Ramona's father sings his own version of part of the song.
  • Muppets Tonight (episode 12 - "Rick Moranis") - In that episode, Moranis explains to Seymour and Pepe that they need patience, skill and high hopes, and begins telling a story. When he is singing the song, Seymour interrupts by smashing the ant, who is later taken into an ambulance. Then he continues the song including the ambulance and Seymour smashing the ant.
  • Rocky Balboa - The song plays when Rocky Balboa enters the ring. He doubts when he hears the song that his brother-in-law, Paulie, has chosen, but later says "He's very good, Sinatra".
  • A Goofy Movie - At the beginning of their long trip, Goofy plugs in an 8-track copy of the song into his car's radio and starts singing along. This annoys his son, Max who changes the radio to hard rock music. The two fight over the music, eventually damaging the cartridge and the radio.
  • Antz - Plays during the end credits.
  • 85th Academy Awards - The song was performed by Seth MacFarlane, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Daniel Radcliffe during the 2013 Academy Awards ceremony.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 135. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Soundtracks for Antz (1998)". IMDb. Retrieved 2009-07-01. 
  4. ^ Paul Luce (14 April 2009). "Remembering Harry Kalas". Delaware County Daily Times. Retrieved 20 April 2009. 
  5. ^ Harris, Aisha (25 February 2013). "Was That the Oscars? Or the Tonys?". Slate. Retrieved 25 February 2013. 

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