Sunny (song)

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Sunny - bobby hebb single.jpg
Single by Bobby Hebb
from the album Sunny
B-side "Bread"
Released June 1966
Recorded Bell Sound Studios, New York City
Genre Soul
Length 2:44
Label Philips
Writer(s) Bobby Hebb
Producer(s) Jerry Ross
Bobby Hebb singles chronology
"A Satisfied Mind"

"Sunny" is a song written by Bobby Hebb. It is one of the most performed and recorded popular songs, with hundreds of versions released. BMI rates "Sunny" number 25 in its "Top 100 songs of the century."[1]

Background and writing[edit]

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 stabbed to death outside a Nashville nightclub. Hebb was devastated by both events and many critics say that those events 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.[2]

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"; a direct quote from the author. 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.'"


The personnel on the original 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 originally recorded while the session was in overtime, so many of the studio musicians booked for that date had to leave early for other recording sessions they were booked for.

"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 Jay and the Techniques (Hebb was the first artist to cover "Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie", but didn't want to be considered a novelty act and let the song go to Jay Proctor). "Sunny" was first recorded in Japan and released on audio album Hit Kit Miko, Vol. 2 (October 20, 1965) by Mieko "Miko" Hirota – the "Connie Francis of Japan", where it was said[by whom?] to have done well on the charts.

In America it was released by marimbaphonist Dave Pike on Atlantic Records in 1966 on the Jazz for the Jet Set album, well before Philips released Hebb's 45 version produced by Ross and arranged by Joe Renzetti. This information was made public – as well as sounds from the first two versions of "Sunny" – on the BBC's Songlines program in early 2006.

"Sunny" was recorded at Bell Sound Studios in New York City and released as a single in 1966. It met an 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, during the closing dates of the Beatles' final concert tour, making it more popular, at the time, than any song in the Beatles' repertoire.

Sunny '76[edit]

"Sunny '76"
Sunny - bobby hebb single 2.jpg
Single by Bobby Hebb
B-side Proud Soul Heritage
Released 1975
Format 7" single
Genre Disco
Length 3:31
Label Polydor
Writer(s) Bobby Hebb
Producer(s) Marty Sheridan, Joe Renzetti

"Sunny '76" is a disco version of Bobby Hebb's song. Like the original 1966 version, it features Hebb. However, the song was updated with a disco beat so that the music would be played in disco rooms around the world.

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[edit]

Sunny - boney m single.jpg
Single by Boney M.
from the album Take the Heat off Me
Released November 22, 1976
Format 7" single
Genre Euro disco
Length 4:01
Label Hansa Records (FRG)
Atlantic Records (UK)
Atco Records (U.S.)
Writer(s) Bobby Hebb
Producer(s) Frank Farian
Boney M. singles chronology
"Daddy Cool"
"Ma Baker"

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 and 1999 (it was a minor hit single early 2000) 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,[3] incl. UK,[4] France [5] and others.

The song is featured in the films Pixote (1980), Repentance (1987), Boogie Nights (1997), Family Relations (Родня) (1982) and Michael (2011) and also Stephen Chow's Chinese film CJ7.

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."

In 2011, the Korean movie Sunny became a box office hit in South Korea. The song of the same name performed by Boney M. was used in the final scene. The song went to number one in the national single chart of South Korea.

2000 remix[edit]

"Sunny (Remix)"
Sunny boney m single 3.jpg
Single by Boney M.
from the album 20th Century Hits
Released February 7, 2000
Format CD single, 12" single
Genre Pop, Europop, Euro disco
Label BMG Records (FRG)
Writer(s) Bobby Hebb
Producer(s) Frank Farian
Boney M. singles chronology
"Hooray! Hooray! (Caribbean Night Fever)"
"Sunny (Remix)"
"Daddy Cool (Remix)"

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[edit]

"Sunny (Mousse T. Remix)"
Sunny - boney m single 2.jpg
Single by Boney M.
from the album The Magic of Boney M.
Released November 2006
Format Digital download
Genre Pop, Europop, Euro disco
Producer(s) Frank Farian
Boney M. singles chronology
"Daddy Cool (Remix)"
"Sunny (Mousse T. Remixes)"

A download-only single from the group's 2006 compilation The Magic of Boney M.

  1. "Sunny" (Mousse T. Radio Mix) - 3:21
  2. "Sunny" (Mousse T. Sexy Disco Radio Mix) - 3:27
  3. "Sunny" (Mousse T. Extended Radio Mix) - 4:17
  4. "Sunny" (Mousse T. Sexy Disco Club Mix) - 5:48

Other recordings[edit]

In Pop Culture[edit]

In 1996, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) used this song for a video montage for former manager Tammy Lynn Sytch, who was then known as Sunny.


Cher version
Chart (1966) Peak
Norwegian Singles Chart[11] 2
Danish Singles Chart[12] 7
Dutch Singles Chart 2
Swedish Singles Chart 4
UK Singles Chart[13] 32
Japanese Singles Chart 86

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1966) Position
Dutch Singles Chart[14] 32
1976 Boney M. version
Chart Peak
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


  1. ^ "BMI's Top 100 Songs Of The Century". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  2. ^ Maddox, David. "One So True | Stories". Nashville Scene. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  3. ^ Steffen Hung. "Boney M. - Sunny". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  4. ^ "BONEY M | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  5. ^ "InfoDisc : Tout les Titres N° 1 des 70's". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  6. ^ "Dečak Taj" at Discogs
  7. ^ Checkmates, Ltd., Live! At Caesar's Palace Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  8. ^ Steffen Hung. "Christophe Willem - Sunny". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  9. ^ MusicBrainz - 1st Round
  10. ^ Huggins, Sarah (September 9, 2014). "'Ray Donovan' Season 2: Listen to 'Sunny' cover by Kerris Dorsey and Octavius Johnson". Zap2it. Retrieved September 30, 2014. 
  11. ^ Steffen Hung. "Cher - Sunny". Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  12. ^ "The Hits of Cher: The Danish Hits of Cher". Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  13. ^ "CHER | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  14. ^ Dutch Singles Chart (1966). "Dutch Singles Chart; End of year charts" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-27. 

External links[edit]