High Hopes (Frank Sinatra song)

"High Hopes" is a popular song first popularized by Frank Sinatra, with music written by James 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]

"High Hopes"
Single by Frank Sinatra
from the album All the Way
B-side"All My Tomorrows"
ReleasedJune 5, 1959 (single);
1961 (album version)
RecordedMay 8, 1959
StudioCapitol Studios, Hollywood, California
Composer(s)Jimmy Van Heusen[1]
Lyricist(s)Sammy Cahn[1]
Frank Sinatra singles chronology
"French Foreign Legion" / "Time After Time"
"High Hopes" / "All My Tomorrows"
"Talk to Me" / "They Came to Cordura"


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 originally recorded by American singer Frank Sinatra in 1959 in a hit version featuring a children's chorus, which was later included in his 1961 album All the Way (this version is not the version that appeared in the film, as the film version paired Sinatra with Eddie Hodges rather than with a children's chorus[2], and also, the lyrics were slightly different). The tune reached #30 on the Billboard Hot 100.[3] The track peaked at #6 in the UK Singles Chart.[1] Sinatra also recorded a version of the tune with different lyrics which was used as the theme song for the 1960 Presidential Campaign of John Kennedy.[4]

Sammy Davis Jr.

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

Dinah Shore

Dinah Shore recorded the song with a children's chorus in 1960.

Doris Day

Doris Day recorded a rather jazzy version of the song for her 1964 album, With a Smile and a Song. Her version was used in the 1998 animated film Antz.[5]

Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby recorded the song for his 1968 album, Thoroughly Modern Bing.

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.[6] 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.

Rick Logan

English singer Rick Logan recorded a shortened version of the song without any music and with a women's chorus by American actresses Donna Davidson-Medine, Luana Jackman, Susie Stevens-Logan and Bobbi Page for A Goofy Movie in 1995.

Franky Perez

Franky Perez, American singer and vocalist for Finnish symphonic metal band Apocalyptica, recorded a version of the song for the 2011 metal-inspired tribute album Sin-Atra.

Robbie Williams

English pop singer Robbie Williams performed the song on his Swings Both Ways Live tour in 2014, accompanied by a children's choir composed of students from each venue location's respective Stagecoach Theatre Arts school. The performance was included on the Swings Both Ways live album.

Craig Mack

Rap musician Craig Mack looped portions of Sinatra's original song into his 1999 composition "Wooden Horse", which was used on the soundtrack to the film What's the Worst That Could Happen?.


  1. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 135. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7.
  2. The Capitol Years box set liner notes, 1990, p. 42.
  3. Whitburn, Joel (2009). Top Pop Singles, 12th Edition. Record Research.
  4. ""High Hopes" (John F. Kennedy Presidential Campaign Song) - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum". www.jfklibrary.org.
  5. "Soundtracks for Antz (1998)". IMDb. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  6. Paul Luce (14 April 2009). "Remembering Harry Kalas". Delaware County Daily Times. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
  7. Harris, Aisha (25 February 2013). "Was That the Oscars? Or the Tonys?". Slate. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
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