|Single by Bobby Hebb|
|from the album Sunny|
|Recorded||February 21, 1966|
|Studio||Bell Sound Studios, New York City|
|Bobby Hebb singles chronology|
"Sunny" is a soul jazz song written by Bobby Hebb in 1963. It is one of the most performed and recorded popular songs, with hundreds of versions released. BMI rates "Sunny" #25 in its "Top 100 songs of the century". It is also known by its first line: "Sunny, yesterday my life was filled with rain".
Background and writing
Hebb's parents, William and Ovalla Hebb, were both blind musicians. Hebb and his older brother Harold performed as a song-and-dance duo in Nashville, beginning when Bobby was three and Harold was nine. Hebb performed on a TV show hosted by country music record producer Owen Bradley.
Hebb wrote the song in the 48 hours following a double tragedy on November 22, 1963: the day U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and Hebb's older brother Harold was also stabbed to death outside a Nashville nightclub. Hebb was devastated by both events and many critics say that they, and critically the loss of his older brother, inspired the lyrics and tune. According to Hebb, he merely wrote the song as an expression of a preference for a "sunny" disposition over a "lousy" disposition following the murder of his brother.
Events influenced Hebb's songwriting, but his melody, crossing over into R&B (#3 on U.S. R&B chart) and Pop (#2 on U.S. Pop chart), together with the optimistic lyrics, came from the artist's desire to express that one should always "look at the bright side". Hebb has said about "Sunny": "All my intentions were to think of happier times and pay tribute to my brother – basically looking for a brighter day – because times were at a low. After I wrote it, I thought 'Sunny' just might be a different approach to what Johnny Bragg was talking about in 'Just Walkin' in the Rain.'"
Mieko Hirota version
"Sunny" was first recorded by Mieko "Miko" Hirota – the "Connie Francis of Japan" and Billy Taylor trio (feat. Ben Tucker and Grady Tate) on the Columbia records release "Miko in New York" (1965), recorded in New York. It was also released on the audio album Hit Kit Miko, Vol. 2 (October 20, 1965).
Dave Pike version
In America it was released by marimbaphonist Dave Pike on Atlantic Records in 1966 on the Jazz for the Jet Set album, recorded in New York City on October 26 and November 2, 1965. Grady Tate, who played drums on Mieko Hirotas version, also played on this version.
Bobby Hebb version
The personnel on the Bobby Hebb recording included Joe Shepley, Burt Collins on trumpet, Micky Gravine on trombone, Artie Kaplan and Joe Grimaldi on sax, Artie Butler on piano, Joe Renzetti and Al Gorgoni on guitar, Paul (PB) Brown and Joe Macho on bass, Al Rogers on drums and George Devens on percussion. The song was recorded while the session was in overtime; many of the studio musicians booked for that date had to leave early for other recording sessions/ Joe Renzetti was the arranger.
"Sunny" was originally part of an 18-song demo recorded by producer Jerry Ross, also famous for Spanky and Our Gang, Keith's "98.6" and "Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie" by Jay & the Techniques (Hebb was offered this song but didn't want to be considered a novelty act and let the song go to Jay Proctor).
"Sunny" was recorded at Bell Sound Studios in New York City and released as a single in 1966. It met with immediate success, which resulted in Hebb touring in 1966 with The Beatles. The song peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in late August 1966 behind, "Summer in the City" by The Lovin' Spoonful.
Cher recorded the song for her third solo album Chér released in 1966. It is considered to be a tribute to her then husband, Sonny Bono. Released as a single in Europe and Asia, it achieved success in numerous countries.
|Single by Bobby Hebb|
|B-side||"Proud Soul Heritage"|
|Producer(s)||Joe Renzetti & Marty Sheriden|
"Sunny '76" is a disco take on Bobby Hebb's song. Like the original 1966 version, it features Hebb. However, an updated disco beat was implemented, with an eye to having it played in discos around the world. This version was also arranged by Joe Renzetti, arranger on the original record.
The 7" single was released in late 1975 (although it's entitled '76). The B-side featured another Hebb's song called "Proud Soul Heritage".
Boney M. version
|Single by Boney M.|
|from the album Take the Heat off Me|
|Released||November 22, 1976|
|Label||Hansa Records (FRG) |
Atlantic Records (UK)
Atco Records (U.S.)
|Boney M. singles chronology|
It was recorded by German euro disco group Boney M., produced by Frank Farian and arranged by Stefan Klinkhammer in a euro disco arrangement. It was taken from their 1976 debut album Take the Heat off Me, following their breakthrough single "Daddy Cool" and was another major hit single that topped the German charts. It has been remixed in 1988, 1999 (it was a minor hit single early 2000) and 2015 and was sampled by Boogie Pimps for their 2004 version. While Liz Mitchell sang the original lead vocals on Boney M.'s version, original member Maizie Williams recorded a solo version in 2006. Boney M's version has become the most popular and entered the 'Top 10' in many countries, including the UK, France  and others.
The song is featured in the films Pixote (1980), Repentance (1987), Boogie Nights (1997), Family Relations (Родня) (1982), Michael (2011), Stephen Chow's Chinese film CJ7 (2008), and the Israeli film The Band's Visit as well as the Broadway musical adaption.
The single was backed by a non-album track "New York City", a reworked version of Farian artist Gilla's 1976 hit single "Tu es!" / "Why Don't You Do It" with an intro borrowed from the album track "Help Help", issued only in some territories instead of "Baby Do You Wanna Bump".
The 2011 South Korean film Sunny took its name from the song, and the song itself was heavily featured in the film. It went on to be #1 in the Korean national single chart.
Hebb's version appears in a 2018 TV commercial for Indeed. A cover version appears in another 2018 ad, this one for Visit Israel. It was also a frequently used intro-song for basketball recruiting mogul, Sonny Vaccaro, when he was a guest on various national and regional radio broadcasts. This song was also being used in a Volkswagen Golf commercial in 2017.
|Germany Singles Chart||1|
|UK Singles Chart||3|
|Austria Singles Chart||1|
|Norway Singles Chart||4|
|Switzerland Singles Chart||2|
|Netherlands Singles Chart||1|
|Belgium Singles Chart||1|
|Sweden Singles Chart||11|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||17|
|South Korea Singles Chart||1|
|Japan Singles Chart||41|
|Ireland Singles Chart||4|
|France Singles Chart||1|
|Single by Boney M.|
|from the album 20th Century Hits|
|Released||February 7, 2000|
|Format||CD single, 12" single|
|Label||BMG Records (FRG)|
|Boney M. singles chronology|
The final single from Boney M.'s remix album 20th Century Hits which peaked at #80 in the Swiss charts. The CD single was released with 8 mixes. A "London Mix" was released on the promotional double-12" single.
Mousse T. remix
|"Sunny (Mousse T. Remix)"|
|Single by Boney M.|
|from the album The Magic of Boney M.|
|Boney M. singles chronology|
A download-only single from the group's 2006 compilation The Magic of Boney M.
- "Sunny" (Mousse T. Radio Mix) - 3:21
- "Sunny" (Mousse T. Sexy Disco Radio Mix) - 3:27
- "Sunny" (Mousse T. Extended Radio Mix) - 4:17
- "Sunny" (Mousse T. Sexy Disco Club Mix) - 5:48
- Many other artists have recorded versions of the song. Georgie Fame's and Cher's issues both charted in the UK Top 75 in 1966. Other covering artists include Ray Conniff, Andy Williams, Shirley Bassey, Public Enemies, Richard Anthony, James Brown and Marva Whitney, Wes Montgomery, Robert Mitchum, the Classics IV, the Electric Flag, Jose Feliciano, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, The Four Seasons, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Earl Grant, Mary Wells, Paul Carrack, David Clayton-Thomas, Jamiroquai, Stanley Jordan, Marion Rung, Mina, Jimmy Smith, Johnny Mathis, Les McCann, George Benson, Chris Montez, The Head Shop, Leonard Nimoy, Wilson Pickett, Los Yorks, Del Shannon, Nick Cave, Oscar Peterson with Joe Pass and Ray Brown, Dusty Springfield, Nino Tempo & April Stevens, Helge Schneider, War, Kathy Hampson's Free Elastic Band, Ajico, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Twinset featuring Barnaby Weir, The Electric Flag, Terrorgruppe, Jalen Santoy, Erroll Garner and The Walker Brothers.
- Serbian-Yugoslavian singer Bisera Veletanlić recorded a version in Serbo-Croatian in 1967.
- Checkmates, Ltd. released a version of the song on their 1967 debut album, Live! At Caesar's Palace.
- Luis Miguel recorded the song in Spanish for his 1987 album Soy Como Quiero Ser.
- Frank Sinatra covered "Sunny" with Duke Ellington on their collaborative album, Francis A. & Edward K..
- Ronnie Dove recorded the song for the independent Wrayco Records label in 1970. It was released as a single, but failed to chart.
- Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass made an instrumental version of "Sunny" on the LP album The Brass Are Comin' launched in 1969 (A & M SP 4228).
- Christophe Willem covered the song in 2006 (#3 in France, #9 in Belgium (Wallonia), #17 in Switzerland).
- Mark Ronson did a live cover with Candie Payne at the Electric Proms.
- Saxophonist Stanley Turrentine also covered the song on his 1967 album The Spoiler.
- Guitarist Pat Martino covered the song on his 1972 album Pat Martino/Live!.
- Arranger Pino Presti covered the song in 1976 on his album 1st Round (Atlantic Records T50274)
- Bill Cosby covered this song on his 1968 album Bill Cosby Sings Hooray for the Salvation Army Band!
- An instrumental version of the song has been recorded by Booker T. and the M.G.'s and another by Manfred Mann on their 1966 EP Instrumental Assassination.
- A previously unreleased version by the 1970s British vocal group Design was included on their 2012 CD One Sunny Day: Singles and Rarities 1968-1978.
- Bryan Adams covered the song for his 2014 album Tracks of My Years.
- TLC covered the song for their 2017 album TLC.
- A cover of the song was featured in season 2 episode 8 of the Showtime series Ray Donovan, also titled "Sunny". The cover was performed by Kerris Dorsey and Octavius Johnson.
- The Philippe Saisse Trio covered the song in a vocal and an instrumental version for their 2017 album On The Level!
- Chilean singer Buddy Richard covered the song in Spanish version called "Cielo".
- Marvel's Jessica Jones TV series featured "Sunny", performed by Bobby Hebb, in the ending of its Season 2 penultimate (12th) episode titled "AKA Pray for my Patsy".
- Papik feat Wendy D. Lewis jazz cover the song Sunny in 2014 for album Sounds For The Open Road.
- Malaysian singer Uji Rashid covered the song in Malay, retitled "Sani" (a Malay male name) for her 1977 album Kali Terakhir Ku Lihat Wajahmu. This cover followed the Boney M arrangement.
- "BMI's Top 100 Songs Of The Century". Archer2000.net. Archived from the original on 2014-07-13. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "Bobby Hebb - Sunny lyrics". Songfacts.com. May 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
- Maddox, David. "One So True | Stories". Nashville Scene. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1966-09-05. Retrieved 2018-05-17.
- "The Hits of Cher: The Danish Hits of Cher". Cherhits.blogspot.dk. Retrieved 2016-10-09.
- "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Flavourofnz.co.nz. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
- "Norway's Best-Sellers" (PDF). Cash Box Magazine. October 29, 1966. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
- "CHER | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
- "Cash Box Top 100 8/27/66". Tropicalglen.com. Retrieved 17 May 2018.[permanent dead link]
- Dutch Singles Chart (1966). "Dutch Singles Chart; End of year charts". Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- "Top 100 Hits of 1966/Top 100 Songs of 1966". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
- "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1966". Tropicalglen.com. Archived from the original on 17 February 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
- Steffen Hung. "Boney M. - Sunny". Swisscharts.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "BONEY M | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "InfoDisc : Tout les Titres N° 1 des 70's". Infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 2014-03-30. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "Indeed TV Commercial, 'Job Search' Song by Bobby Hebb". ispot.tv. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
- "Visit Israel TV Commercial, 'Sunny'". Ispot.tv. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
- "Dečak Taj" at Discogs
- Checkmates, Ltd., Live! At Caesar's Palace Retrieved January 27, 2016.
- Steffen Hung. "Christophe Willem - Sunny". Lescharts.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
- "Release "1st Round" by Pino Presti Sound - MusicBrainz". Musicbrainz.org. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
- Huggins, Sarah (September 9, 2014). "'Ray Donovan' Season 2: Listen to 'Sunny' cover by Kerris Dorsey and Octavius Johnson". Zap2it. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- "Jessica Jones - S2E12 "AKA Pray for my Patsy" Music and List of Songs". What-song. Retrieved 2018-04-09.