California Sun

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"California Sun"
Song by Joe Jones
Written Henry Glover
Morris Levy
Published 1961
Recorded by The Rivieras, The Dictators, Ramones, Bobby Fuller

"California Sun" is a song written and originally recorded by Henry Glover and Morris Levy and performed by Joe Jones. It was then released by Roulette Records in the winter of 1961[1] it peaked at #89 on the charts.

The Rivieras cover[edit]

"California Sun"
Single by The Rivieras
from the album Let's Have A Party
Released 1963
Format 7"
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2:23
Label Riviera
Writer(s) Henry Glover
The Rivieras singles chronology
"Played On"
"California Sun"
"Little Donna"

The most successful version of the song was released by the Rivieras in 1964 and became the group's biggest hit in their short career. This song was the result of their first recording session at Chicago's Columbia Recording Studios in 1963 (purchased by manager Bill Dobslaw). The lineup for this session included Marty Fortson on vocals and rhythm guitar, Joe Pennell on lead guitar, Doug Gean on bass, Otto Nuss on organ, and Paul Dennert on drums. The original single cut from this session included the song "Played On" as the A-side, with "California Sun" as the B-side and was released on Dobslaw's Riviera label in 1963. DJ Art Roberts ensured that the "California Sun" side saw significant airplay on WLS. In response to the growing success, Dobslaw got the band a national distribution deal with USA Records, and the song was adequately distributed with "H.B. Goose Step" as the B-side.[2]

The song entered the charts on January 25, 1965 and reached No. 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, staying on the chart for 10 weeks.[3] The song was further hailed as the last American rock and roll hit before the British Invasion. Shortly after the song's release, the band experienced internal problems as Fortson and Pennell enlisted in the Marines, in addition to various lineup changes afterwards. "California Sun" was eventually featured on the band's debut album Let's Have A Party. A later version was released later that year as "California Sun '65" on their second and final album, Campus Party.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1964) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[4] 5

Other versions[edit]

"California Sun"
Song by Ramones from the album Leave Home
Released February 1976
Recorded February 1976
Genre Punk rock
Length 1:58
Label Sire/Philips
Producer Tony Bongiovi, Tommy Ramone
Leave Home track listing
"What's Your Game"
"California Sun"
  • The Crickets recorded their version for their LP of the same name in 1964 (Liberty LRP 3351 / LST 7351).
  • The Ramones's cover was also used in Jackass: The Movie, while the Rivieras's version was used in Oliver Stone's The Doors film, when Jim Morrison (played by Val Kilmer) arrives in Venice Beach.
  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk uses various versions in their radio and television advertisements, notably for their 100th anniversary in 2010.
  • English band Palma Violets covered California Sun. The song is featured as the B-side of their single "We Found Love".[7]


External links[edit]