Look for the Silver Lining

TITLE: Look for the Silver Lining
AUTHOR: Music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by B.G. DeSylva
CATEGORY: Author Known, Public Domain
KEYWORDS: optimism, musical


Look for the Silver Lining is a popular song with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by B.G. DeSylva. It was written in 1919 for the unsuccessful musical Zip, Goes a Million. In 1920 it was published and reused in the musical Sally whence it was popularized by Marilyn Miller. Among others, the song was later covered several times by Judy Garland, whose version also became, and remains, well-known. (wikipedia)

The term Silver lining is a metaphor for optimism as in the idiom “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

The origin of the phrase is traced to John Milton’s Comus (1634) with the lines,

Was I deceiv’d, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?

Many think Look for the Silver Lining was written during the Great Depression (1929-19-39) but, as mentioned above, it was written a decade earlier. But it was a perfect song when the Great Depression hit.

Only in researching this song did I realize there were verses to Look for the Silver Lining. The verses are the conversation below:

(Blair) Please don’t be offended if I preach to you a while,
Tears are out of place in eyes that were meant to smile.
There’s a way to make you very biggest troubles small,
Here’s the happy secret of it all.

(Sally) As I wash my dishes, I’ll be following your plan,
Till I see the brightness in ev’ry pot and pan.
I am sure your point of view will ease the daily grind,
So I’ll keep repeating in my mind.

The video below does not include the verses, maybe another time.


  • Look for a Sky of Blue (parody)




Look for the Silver Lining

Look for the silver lining
When e’er a cloud appears in the blue.
Remember somewhere the sun is shining,
And so the right thing to do,
Is make it shine for you.

A heart, full of joy and gladness,
Will always banish sadness and strife.
So always look for the silver lining,
And try to find the sunny side of life.


  • Folk Song Index: A Comprehensive Guide to the Florence E. Brunnings Collection, Florence E. Brunnings, Garland Publishing, Inc., New York and London 1981—Amazon Books
  • Country Music Sources: A Biblio-Discography of Commercially Recorded Traditional Music, Guthrie T. Meade, Jr. with Dick Spottswood and Douglas S. Meade, Southern Folklife Collection, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Libraries, NC 2002—Amazon Books

NOTICE: I’m not the best guitar player or vocalist, but no one loves these songs more than I do. The tune and lyrics are in the public domain unless otherwise noted. The recording © copyright 2013 by Stephen Griffith and may be used by permission of the copyright holder. The variation of the song I’m posting is the version I perform and is not exactly replicating the sources cited, but is always in the same song family. If anyone has more details about this song, or believes I’ve stated something in error, please let me know. I’m also open to suggestions to improve the site. Thanks. sgg

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