On the Sunny Side of the Street
"On the Sunny Side of the Street" is a 1930 song, with credited music composed by Jimmy McHugh and lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Some authors say that Fats Waller was actually the composer, but he sold the rights for the money. It was introduced in the Broadway musical Lew Leslie's International Revue, starring Harry Richman and Gertrude Lawrence.
Having become a jazz standard, it was played (usually as an instrumental) by such greats as Louis Armstrong, Ted Lewis, Dave Brubeck, Earl Hines, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Erroll Garner, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Tatum, James Booker, Count Basie and Lester Young. The Louis Armstrong version was recorded in the key of C major, but it has been recorded in a range of keys; Ted Lewis recorded it in D major and Ella Fitzgerald in G major etc.
Fats Waller and His Rhythm performed the song live with Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden in a radio broadcast from Martin Block’s Make Believe Ballroom in October 1938. The version is included on the 1981 Smithsonian Folkways album Striding in Dixieland (FW02816).
Frankie Laine had a hit with his recording and the song also was recorded by other leading vocalists, including Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Doris Day, Keely Smith, Nat King Cole, Jo Stafford, and Frank Sinatra. Arguably the best known arrangement is found in the 1945 record by Tommy Dorsey and the Sentimentalists.
- Layton & Johnstone released the song in 1930 on Columbia (UK) DB 254.
- Louis Armstrong recorded the song in 1933.
- Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden performed the song together in 1938.
- Peggy Lee and Benny Goodman recorded the song in 1941.
- Judy Garland recorded her version in 1942.
- Billie Holiday recorded her version in 1944.
- Lester Young recorded the song in 1944 for the movie Jammin' the Blues and in 1952 on the album Lester Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio.
- Maurice Rocco recorded the song in September, 1946.
- Louis Armstrong 7-minute recording in his famous 1947 Boston Symphony Hall concert.
- Nat King Cole did a version with his trio circa 1947 on a live show in Manhattan, New York and recorded it the following day.
- Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, and Sonny Stitt recorded their well-known version on their 1957 album Sonny Side Up.
- In 1959, Keely Smith recorded it with Billy May and his Orchestra for her Capitol LP Politely!
- A version of the song appears on Jimmy Smith's Back at the Chicken Shack 1987 extended version.
- On March 20, 1961, Frank Sinatra recorded the song with Billy May and his Orchestra for his Capitol LP Come Swing with Me!
- The Coasters also recorded a version of this song.
- Doris Day recorded the song in 1961 for her album Bright and Shiny.
- Bryn Haworth recorded this in 1975 on his album of the same name
- Willie Nelson included a cover of the song on Stardust, his 1978 album of jazz and popular standards.
- Steve Allen in his mystery novel The Talk Show Murders (1982) suggested that the song refers to "passing" — the possibility of light-skinned blacks passing for white.
- About 1966, Gene Kelly recorded a cover version with slightly altered lyrics:
- Scatman John also did a rendition of this song.
- The children's/Family group Sharon Lois and Bram recorded a version for their 1990 hit Sing A to Z recording, as well as performed the number on their critically acclaimed hit television series Sharon, Lois & Bram's Elephant Show.
- Little Willie Littlefield recorded a version for his 1990 album Singalong with Little Willie Littlefield.
- In 1994, Barry Manilow covered the song for his album Singin' with the Big Bands, a recording that featured The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
- In 1995, a version of the song performed by Steve Tyrell was included on the Father of the Bride Part II soundtrack (UPN #8-0927-45475-2-1).
- In the 1995 movie Mrs. Winterbourne, Shirley MacLaine and Ricki Lake sang a rearranged rendition of the song.
- In 2003, Cyndi Lauper recorded a zydeco-flavored cover of this song on her standards/covers album At Last.
- In 2004, a version of the song was performed by the television characters Martin Crane (John Mahoney) and Ronee Lawrence (Wendie Malick) in the season 11 episode "Freudian Sleep", on the hit television sitcom Frasier.
- In 2007, Zooey Deschanel sings the song for Stephen Berra's movie The Good Life.
- In 2008, The Manhattan Transfer did a close harmony version of the song for the CD/DVD 35th Anniversary - The Great American Songbook
- In 2010, Canadian singer Nikki Yanofsky recorded a mash-up version of this song with Led Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain". It is a bonus track on her debut studio album Nikki.
- In 2010, Rod Stewart recorded the song for his Fly Me to the Moon... The Great American Songbook Volume V cover album.
- Also in 2010, famous British band McFly can be heard demoing the song during the end credits of their music video/feature film Nowhere Left To Run.
- At the 2011 edition of the Rochester Jazz Festival, Trombone Shorty played the song for a free concert.
- Adam Duritz of rock band Counting Crows included a piano cover of the song on his free seven-song album All My Bloody Valentines.
- In 2012, Scottish singer-songwriter Storm Gordon recorded a reggae version (complete with original verses), when she was featured on the Toronto-based drummer and arranger Vince Maccarone's Los Variants Jass-Blues album.
- In 2013, Jonathan Batiste and Stay Human released their version on the album Jazz is Now.
- In 2013–14, American Idol winner and R&B singer Fantasia Barrino performed the song in the Broadway musical revue After Midnight.