Country Sunshine (song)
|Single by Dottie West|
|from the album Country Sunshine|
|B-side||"Wish I Didn't Love You Anymore"|
|Released||September 15, 1973|
|Writer(s)||Dottie West, Billy Davis, Dianne Whiles|
|Dottie West singles chronology|
"Country Sunshine" is a song co-written and recorded by American country music artist Dottie West, which is remembered both as one of West's biggest chart hits, as well as a Coca-Cola jingle in a popular commercial. It was released in September 1973 as the first single and title track from the album Country Sunshine. West wrote the song with Billy Davis and Diane Whiles.
"Country Sunshine" is about a person persuaded to leave a small town to go to the big city with a love interest. Because the person likes living in the country, and was "raised on country sunshine", the offer is declined.
Dottie West's recording of "Country Sunshine" had originally been prepared as a jingle for a TV commercial for Coca Cola, being produced by Billy Davis of McCann-Erickson Advertising who'd been responsible for the classic Coca-Cola jingles "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)", "It's the Real Thing", and "Things Go Better With Coke".
Prior to "Country Sunshine", Davis had co-written the song "I'm Your Country Girl" with West which had been featured in a Coca Cola commercial as recorded by West: West had been recruited to write this earlier Coca-Cola jingle after a McCann-Erickson associate heard her 1968 single "Country Girl.
The lyrics of "Country Sunshine" heard in the commercial vary - in some versions West sings that "the simple things" are "a Saturday night dance, a bottle of Coke [ie. Coca-Cola], and the joy that the bluebird brings", in others "bottle of Coke" is replaced by "a picture show. Because of "Country Sunshine"'s success as a commercial jingle West was awarded a Clio in 1974.
After the "Country Sunshine" commercial aired, West's "Country Sunshine" was issued as a single to ultimately become her biggest hit to date, just missing the top spot of the Billboard C&W charts with a number 2 peak.
"Country Sunshine" was a milestone recording for West who had last charted in the C&W Top 20 with "Reno" in 1968 and in the intervening period had had a solitary Top C&W 30 hit ("Forever Yours"/ number 21 in 1970). "Country Sunshine" also crossed over to number 49 on the Pop-oriented Billboard Hot 100 and would in fact remain West's career best solo showing in the Pop field, her number 14 1981 Hot 100 hit "What Are We Doin' In Love" being a duet with Kenny Rogers (although Rogers was not billed on the single).
The original songwriting credit on "Country Sunshine" attributed authorship to Dottie West and Billy Davis, the name of a third songwriter: Dianne Whiles, being eventually added. According to Dianne Whiles - identified as a single mother of four resident in Moline IL - she became friendly with Dottie West in the late 1960s at the state fair in Davenport IA where West was judging a singing competition in which Whiles was a contestant, and West would subsequently invite Whiles to any concerts West played in the Quad Cities area. According to Whiles in 1970 after seeing West perform Whiles visited West's tour bus where Whiles played West some songs Whiles had written, with West being impressed enough to arrange for Whiles to cut some demos of songs Whiles had written, including "Country Sunshine": Whiles states she heard nothing more on the matter of her demoed songs until seeing one of the televised Coca-Cola ads with West singing "Country Sunshine" in 1973. Whiles has stated she sued and after extended litigation received a credit for co-writing the song plus a financial settlement which she is forbidden to discuss.
Although West would have subsequent singles which topped the C&W charts besting the number 2 peak of "Country Sunshine", "Country Sunshine" would remain West's signature song: her professional nickname was "Miss Country Sunshine", her tour bus was dubbed the Sunshine Express, and on November 9, 2012 the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled its Dottie West: Country Sunshine exhibit (a display of costumes and other memorabilia from West's career, Dottie West: Country Sunshine is scheduled to run through May 2, 2013).
Michele Lee recorded "Country Sunshine" for the soundtrack album of the 1995 TV-biopic Big Dreams and Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story in which Lee portrayed West.
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||2|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||49|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks||37|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||9|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||68|
|Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks||42|
- Billboard vol 78 #31 (July 29, 1972) p.37
- Telegraph-Herald August 18, 1976 p.12
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edtiion. Record Research. p. 379.
- "Hepatitis Song Infected Phoenix Divided Family". The Arizona Republic (AZcentral.com). Retrieved 8 September 2015.