The sun is associated with hope and joy. That is why even the Bible says weeping endures in the night, but joy comes in the morning. For this reason, musicians compose songs about sunshine; sometimes, it is symbolic, other times literal. Some of the songs even have cover versions that have transcended the originals. Of the many songs about sunshine that have been released, here are 10 of the greatest.
10. “I Make My Own Sunshine” by Alyssa Bonagura
The song talks about how nothing can weigh Bonagura down; even if it rains, she makes her sunshine. The singer’s parents were in a country band and inspired her to be a country singer. Therefore, her mother invited her on stage to sing with the band. At 10, she helped Kenny Rogers record “If Only I Had Your Heart,” where the little girl sang the part of the angel. She is forever grateful to the late country music legend who gave Bonagura her first shot, inspiring her to write her own songs at 11.
9. “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine” by Gale Garnett
Garnett was born in New Zealand, but at the age of 11, moved to Canada with her family. Her music career began in 1960 when she made her public singing debut. In 1963, she made her first appearance as a singer at a New York club. Garnett must have been a great singer because RCA Records signed her. She recorded her debut single, “We’ll Sing in the Sunshine.” The song became such a huge hit that after topping the US Billboard chart, she won a Grammy for Best Folk Recording in 1965. It is about how she cannot have a long-term attachment because her father once advised her not to love any man.
8. “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream
According to I Love Classic Rock, the song is regarded as one of the monument cuts for the rock band. Pete Brown came up with the lyrics and the opening line is because he had been working until the wee hours of the morning. When he looked out the window, he saw it was almost dawn. It was gold-certified in 1968 and has been hailed among the songs that shaped rock and roll. The guitar track is also one of the greatest, thanks to Eric Clapton’s contribution.
7. “Sunshine on My Shoulders” by John Denver
Country Thang Daily reveals that Denver wrote the song in spring one early morning while he was in Minnesota. He was stuck indoors as the rain fell, and he wished for the sun, reminiscing how good it would feel to enjoy the sunshine. He wanted to write a sad song, but it wound up a happy song.
6. “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and The Waves
As Katrina Leskanich told The Guardian, she was in a band playing in US air force bases thanks to her father, who was in the US Army. She later joined a band called The Waves, and together they became Katarina and The Waves. Although Leskanich preferred doing covers, Kimberly Crew, the band’s guitarist, wanted them to perform an original. Thus he wrote “Walking on Sunshine,” which the band hated at first. However, it catapulted them to fame, and Capitol Records signed them.
5. “Cover Me in Sunshine” by Pink
This mother-daughter collaboration between Pink and her daughter, Willow has garnered over 67 million views on YouTube despite being around since February 2021. Pink had not planned on including her daughter in the song, but Willow found her mother singing and asked if she could sing along. It came at the most appropriate time when people needed a word of hope after experiencing the coronavirus pandemic and its aftermath.
4. “Pocketful of Sunshine” by Natasha Bedingfield
As ET published, the title of the song came by accident. Danielle Brisebois had a coin in her pocket given to her by counselors at Betty Ford Rehab, where her mother was admitted. Since she wanted to use “sunshine” in a song title and had the coin in the pocket, she settled on “Pocketful of Sunshine.” The lyrics were also not planned, but Bedingfield, Brisebois, and John Shanks recorded the song in four hours.
3. “You are My Sunshine” by Johnny Cash
This song has become a popular lullaby and nursery rhyme. It dates back to 1937 when Paul Rice copyrighted it but sold the rights to Jimmie Davis and Charlie Mitchell. Davis recorded it in 1940 and used it as his campaign theme in 1944 when he ran for the Louisiana governor seat. The country singer also had a horse named “Sunshine.” Thus, whenever he rode it, Davis sang the song. Covers began being released in 1941 and have continued since then, but Johnny Cash’s remains the best known.
2. “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers
Withers watched “Days of Wine and Roses,” which inspired him to write the song. It was about two everyday Americans who succumbed to alcoholism. Therefore, even if the song’s lyrics appear to be talking about the loss of a lover, the “she” is symbolic of addictive substances. Withers was only 31 when he wrote the song. He worked at a toilet factory, and the factory awarded him a golden toilet after the song was gold-certified. It has since been covered by legends such as Kenny Rogers, Prince, Michael Jackson, and Paul McCartney, among many more.
1. “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake
Timberlake said that he would never have written the song for himself. The singer wrote it for the “Trolls” movie but was told he had to sing it. He opined that the film felt like a big disco experience, but they did not have any song thus needed a modern disco song. The singer listened to Withers’ “Lovely Day,” which Timberlake recounts as the sole inspiration for the “Trolls” soundtrack.