Pennies from Heaven


What does Pennies from Heaven mean?

The phrase Pennies From Heaven is an idiom that has been used for many years to describe an unexpected gift or stroke of luck.

It is often used to refer to a reward or bonus that comes out of the blue and can be anything from free money to a promotion at work. It was popularized by the 1936 musical comedy, featuring Bing Crosby, also titled “Pennies From Heaven”.

While the expression is often used in a positive light, it can also be used to describe windfalls that come at a cost, such as an inheritance that comes with strings attached.

Pennies from heaven


What's the origin of Pennies from Heaven?

“Pennies From Heaven” started gaining popularity in 1936, following the release of the musical with the same name, and the central song. The song was composed by Arthur Johnston, and its lyrics were written by Johnny Burke. In the movie, it was performed by Bing Crosby.

The lyrics to “Pennies From Heaven” describe an optimistic view of life’s hardships, suggesting that although life may bring us difficult times, some good will still come out of it. The idea behind this phrase is that when we are struggling, help can come from unexpected sources – like pennies raining down from heaven. This concept has become an enduring part of our cultural vocabulary and has been used to describe a wide range of situations where good luck or aid unexpectedly arrives after an arduous journey.

In the following years, the song gained widespread popularity, turning its title into an idiom, alluding to unexpected help from a greater power.

Spread & Usage

How did Pennies from Heaven spread?

“Pennies From Heaven” became a hallmark of American culture, with numerous covers performed to the original song, by notable artists like Frank Sinatra, or recently Louis Prima, as well as recreations being released of the original film, like the one in 1981.

This also further engrained the phrase in the lexicon of Americans, and even other English-speaking people, across the world.

“Pennies From Heaven” is still a widely used and recognized expression, invoking the idea of an unexpected greater power.

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