January 25, 2009
Sunday Music: " Sunny " by Bobby Hebb
( below from the great wikipedia )
Hebb's parents, William and Ovalla Hebb, were both blind musicians. Hebb and his older brother Harold performed as a song-and-dance team 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, which earned him a place with Grand Ole Opry star Roy Acuff. Hebb played spoons and other instruments in Acuff's band. Harold later became a member of Johnny Bragg and the Marigolds. Bobby Hebb sang backup on Bo Diddley's "Diddley Daddy". Hebb played "West-coast-style" trumpet in a US Navy jazz band, and replaced Mickey Baker in Mickey and Sylvia.
On 23 November 1963, the day after John F. Kennedy's assassination, Harold Hebb was killed in a knife fight outside a Nashville nightclub. Hebb was devastated by both events and sought comfort in songwriting. Though many claim that the song he wrote after both tragedies was the optimistic "Sunny", Hebb himself says otherwise. He immersed himself in the Gerald Wilson album, "Would You Believe", for comfort.
"All my intentions were just to think of happier times – basically looking for a brighter day – because times were at a low tide. 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".
"Sunny" was recorded in New York City, after demos were made with legendary producer Jerry Ross. When Hebb toured with The Beatles in 1966 his "Sunny" was as wildly received as any Beatles tune, as evidenced by tapes of the concerts. It is one of the most covered popular songs, with hundreds of versions released. BMI rates "Sunny" number 25 in its "Top 100 songs of the century".
"Sunny" has been recorded by, among others, Boney M, Cher, Georgie Fame, Johnny Rivers, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra with Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, the Electric Flag, The Four Seasons, two different versions from Frankie Valli, the Four Tops, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Les McCann, Dusty Springfield, Classics IV and The Alex Trio featuring David Wise. One cover, a disco version called "Sunny '76" was a hit for Hebb in that year. In 2000, Musiq did an updated dance version retitled "Just Friends (Sunny)," which went to #31 on the U.S. Billboard charts.