Sunny Came Home
|"Sunny Came Home"|
|Single by Shawn Colvin|
|from the album A Few Small Repairs|
|Released||June 24, 1997|
|Recorded||1996 Shelter Island|
|Length||4:24 (album version)
3:46 (radio edit)
|Shawn Colvin singles chronology|
"Sunny Came Home" was a commercial success, reaching number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was also a critical smash, winning both Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year and was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
Background and composition
The song tells the story of a woman named Sunny who burns down her house to escape her past. It is one of several "story songs" on A Few Small Repairs, a method of songwriting Colvin began experimenting with while writing for the album. The title of the song comes from the opening lyrics.
The song's bright, calm and warming music, fronted by a distinctive mandolin strum, contrasts very sharply with the destructive lyrics, particularly the haunting bridge: "Get the kids and bring a sweater; dry is good, and wind is better. Count the years; you always knew it / Strike a match; go on and do it". The title of the album, A Few Small Repairs, also appears in the third line of the second verse of the song, "'It's time for a few small repairs,' she said."
"Sunny Came Home" is Colvin's biggest hit. At the 1998 Grammy Awards, it was named Song of the Year and Record of the Year. The Grammy Awards presentation was the occasion for an interruption by rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard stating that his group, Wu-Tang Clan, "is for the children. We teach the children. You know what I mean?", while Colvin was about to receive her award. It peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, and likely would have achieved a higher peak had it been released commercially sooner to correspond with the song's airplay maximum: it was #1 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart for four weeks and also #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart for four weeks. On the Hot 100 Single Sales chart, however, it peaked at #29. Colvin's record label did not plan to release the track as a retail single until it became an airplay favorite on CHR as well as AC and Adult Alternative radio stations and the label deduced that the song appealed to a younger audience who might be willing to buy the single.