California Sun

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"California Sun"
Single by Joe Jones
B-side"Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone"
Released1960 (1960)
GenreSurf Rock
LabelRoulette (4344)
Songwriter(s)Henry Glover
Joe Jones singles chronology
"You Talk Too Much"
"California Sun"
"(I've Got a) Uh Uh Wife"

"California Sun" is a rock song first recorded by American rhythm and blues singer Joe Jones. Henry Glover is credited on the original 45 rpm single as the songwriter, although Roulette Records owner Morris Levy's name sometimes incorrectly appears on re-issues. In 1961, Roulette issued the song with "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone" as the B-side. The single reached number 89 on Billboard's Hot 100.[1]

The Rivieras cover[edit]

"California Sun"
Single by The Rivieras
B-side"H.B. Goose Step"
ReleasedDecember 1963 (1963-12)[2]
GenreRock and roll
LabelRiviera (R-1401)
Songwriter(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 1963 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 guitar, Otto Nuss on Vox Continental 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.

The song entered the charts on January 25, 1964, peaking at number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. It remained on the charts 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. A re-recording of the song with new lyrics, titled "Arizona Sun" was recorded in 1964, but not released until 2000 on the compilation Let's Stomp with The Rivieras! Unissued 1964 Recordings. "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.

The song was used in the 1987 movie Good Morning, Vietnam, as well as on its soundtrack album. It was also featured in the 1991 biopic The Doors. It was also one of many California-related songs played throughout "Sunshine Plaza" in the original Disney California Adventure.[4] and can also be heard as part of the background music loop at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon water park. Their version was also used as a promotional song for the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game which took place at Angel Stadium, the home of the Los Angeles Angels.

Chart history[edit]

Chart (1964) Peak
Canada (CHUM Hit Parade)[5] 3
Germany[6] 15
New Zealand (Lever Hit Parade)[7] 6
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[3] 5

Other versions[edit]

"California Sun"
Song by Ramones
from the album Leave Home
ReleasedJanuary 1977
RecordedOctober 1976
GenrePunk rock
Songwriter(s)Henry Glover
Producer(s)Tony Bongiovi, Tommy Ramone


  1. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2002
  2. ^ "45cat - The Rivieras [Indiana] - California Sun / H B Goose Step - Riviera - USA - R-1401". Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  3. ^ a b "The Rivieras - Chart history". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2018-05-21. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  4. ^ "Sunshine Plaza". Theme Park Music. Archived from the original on 2016-08-20. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  5. ^ "CHUM Hit Parade, March 2, 1964". Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  6. ^ "Infinity charts: German Top 20". Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  7. ^ "flavour of New Zealand - search lever". Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  8. ^ "The Invaders (31) - California Sun / Love And Hate". Discogs. 1968. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  9. ^ Cash Box, November 11, 1967 - Page 26 Best Bets
  10. ^ "Sing Along With Los Straitjackets". Discogs. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  11. ^ "The Offspring Concert Setlist at Gran Parque de la Exposición, Lima on September 5, 2013". Retrieved 2014-02-09.
  12. ^ "The Offspring Concert Setlist at Estadio Cubierto Malvinas Argentinas, Buenos Aires on September 8, 2013". Retrieved 2014-02-09.
  13. ^ "We Found Love - Single by Palma Violets on Apple Music". 2013-04-29. Retrieved 2016-09-27.

External links[edit]