You Are My Sunshine
"You Are My Sunshine" is a song popularized by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell in 1939. It has been declared one of the state songs of Louisiana because of its association with Davis, a country music singer and governor of the state in the years 1944–1948 and 1960–1964.
|"You Are My Sunshine"|
|Song by Simon Ravenhall|
The song has been recorded numerous times — so often, in fact, that it is "one of the most commercially programmed numbers in American popular music." The song, originally country music, has "virtually lost" its original country music identity, and "represent[s] both the national flowering of country music and its eventual absorption into the mainstream of American popular culture." In 1941, it was recorded by Gene Autry, Bing Crosby, Mississippi John Hurt, Wayne King and Lawrence Welk. The versions by Autry, Crosby, and King reached the US charts of the day.
In subsequent years, it was recorded by Doris Day (1951), Nat King Cole (1955), The Marcels (1961), Ray Charles (1962), Ike & Tina Turner, The Rivingtons (1962), Andy Williams (1963), Burl Ives (1968), Frank Turner, The Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, Anne Murray (1979), Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Norman Blake, Brian Wilson, Mouse and the Traps, Gene Vincent, Jamey Johnson, Low, Mose Allison, Bryan Ferry, Carly Simon, Papa Winnie (1989), Madeline Eastman, Yusuf Islam, Copeland, Johnny and the Hurricanes, and Barbra Lica (2012), amongst many others.
Earliest performances and recordingsEdit
Pine Ridge Boys; Rice Brothers Gang; Carter FamilyEdit
The Pine Ridge Boys recorded the song under the title "You Are My Sunshine" on August 22, 1939 and released in September 1939 for Bluebird Records (RCA-Victor's budget label) on August 22, 1939. The Boys (Marvin Taylor and Doug Spivey) were from Atlanta.
The Rice Brothers Gang recorded the song for Decca Records on September 13, 1939, by  This group was originally from north Georgia but relocated to Shreveport, where they were performing on the radio station KWKH.
The Carters performed "You Are My Sunshine" during a January 1, 1939 border radio broadcast. (The lyrics of "You Are My Sunshine" mirror in some ways those of a song written by A. P. Carter in 1934 entitled "Happy and Lonesome" and on this broadcast the Carters performed both. The first verse of the former begins, "Come back to me in my dreaming/Come back to me once more/Come with the love light gleaming/As in the days of yore.")
The version by Jimmie Davis was recorded for Decca Records on February 5, 1940.
Whereas Davis and Mitchell are usually credited songwriters of "You Are My Sunshine", Davis was never known actually to claim authorship, as he bought the song and rights from Paul Rice and put his own name on it, a practice not uncommon in the pre-World War II music business, though some early versions of the song credit it to the Rice Brothers. Descendants and associates of Oliver Hood, a LaGrange, Georgia, musician who collaborated with Rice, state that Hood wrote the song in the early 1930s and first performed it at a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention at LaGrange, Georgia, in 1933.
According to OffBeat magazine, clarinetist Pud Brown was also involved with the Rice Brothers for the song's origin or first arrangement. Davis said that for some time he had been enthusiastic about the song and had unsuccessfully tried to convince record companies to record it before finally making his own 1940 record of the song. Davis' version was popular and was followed by numerous other versions, including those of Bing Crosby and Gene Autry, whose versions made the number a big hit. Davis emphasized his association with the song when running for governor of Louisiana in 1944, singing it at all his campaign rallies while riding on a horse named "Sunshine".
- 1939 - Carter Family - Jan. 1, 1939 -- Mexico - Consolidated Radio Corp. of Mexico 1A/B (TD 16") - Janette Carter
- 1939 - Carter Family - Jan. 23, 1939 -- Mexico - Consolidated Radio Corp. of Mexico 11A/B (TD 16"), Arhoolie 413, on: The Carter Family On Border Radio 1939, Vol. 3 (released 1999) - Janette Carter
- 1939 - Pine Ridge Boys - Atlanta GA - Aug. 22, 1939 - 041254-1 Bluebird B-8263 - Martin Taylor (v,g), Douglas Spivey (v,g)
- 1939 - Rice Brothers Gang - New York City - Sept. 13, 1939 - 66432-A Decca 5763
- 1940 - Jimmie Davis with Charles Mitchell's Orchestra - New York City - Feb. 5, 1940 - 67157-A Decca 5813
- 1940 - The Airport Boys - New York City - Sept. 30, 1940 - Buck Nation (v,g), Ed West (v,g), Lloyd West (v,sb)
- 40s - Judy Canova - radio program
- 1941 - Gene Autry - Hollywood CA - June 18, 1940 - H-315-1,-2 OKeh 06274
- 1943 - Jimmie Davis - radio show - It Makes No Difference Now, You Are My Sunshine
- 1944/'45 - Buck Johnson
- 1946-'48 - Albert Ammons
- 1947-'65 - Smiley Lewis
- 50s- The Ames Brothers
- 50's - Cowboy Roy Brown - Delmark, on: Street Singer, Born 1875 (released 2007)
- 1953 - Les Brown - The Les Brown Show from Hollywood 1953
- 1955-'59 - Nat King Cole - Capitol
- 1957 - Aron Young - Capitol, on: Sweethearts Or Strangers
- 1957-'64 - Carl McVoy - Sun
- 1959 - Firehouse Five Plus Two - on: The Firehouse Five Plus Two Crashes a Party
- 1959 - Toots Thielemans - on: The Soul of Toots Thielemans
- 1960 - Johnny & The Hurricanes - on: Big Sound of Johnny & the Hurricanes
- 1960 - Ricky Nelson - Imperial, on: More Songs By Ricky
- '60s - The Champs
- '60s - Bill Haley - Jan. 7, 1960-Dec. 16, 1969 - Bear Family, on: The Warner Brothers Years & More (released 1999)
- '60s - The Rivingtones
- 1961 - Kitty Kallen - Columbia, on: Honky Tonk Angel
- 1961 - Pete Seeger - Folkways 2323, on: American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 4
- 1961-'63 - The Marcels - Colpix
- 1962 - Johnny Bond - Starday, on: Live It Up, Laugh It Up
- 1962 - Ray Charles - ABC-Paramount, on: Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (released 1988)
- 1962 - Werly Fairburn
- 1962 - Joni James - on: Country Style
- 1962 - George Russell - Riverside
- 1962 - Tony Sheridan - Polydor, on: My Bonnie
- 1962-66 - Dee Dee Sharp - Cameo Parkway
- 1963 - Dick Dale & the Del-Tones - on: King of the Surf Guitar
- 1963 - Eugene & The Cyclones
- 1963 - Marvin Gaye - Sep 9, 1963 - London UK - Motown, on: On Stage Recorded Live
- 1963 - George Hamilton IV - on: Abilene
- 1963 - Bill Henderson - Verve, on: Vocal Classics - Oscar Peterson Trio (Ray Brown (b) Ed Thigpen (d))
- 1963 - Mississippi John Hurt - July 23, 1963 - Washington DC - unissued - Mississippi John Hurt (v,g)
- 1963 - The Ventures - Dolton, on: Ventures Play the Country Classics
- 1963 - Andy Williams - Columbia, on: Days of Wine and Roses
- 1963/'64 - Alex Harvey - Bear Family, on: Alex Harvey and His Soul Band
- 1964 - Ike & Tina Turner - Warner, on: Live! The Ike & Tina Turner Show
- 1964 - Gene Vincent - on: Shakin' Up a Storm
- 1964-'71 - Dyke & the Blazers
- 1964-'67 - Pete Lancaster And The Upsetters - March 11, 1964-June 8, 1966
- 1965 - Mississippi John Hurt - Oberlin, OH (Live at Oberlin College) - April 15, 1965 [Vanguard's liner notes] (prob. 1966 [well-grounded by Stefan Wirz on www.wirz.de/music/hurtfrm.htm]) - on: The Best Of Mississippi John Hurt, Vanguard, 19/20 (released 1970) - Mississippi John Hurt (v,g)
- 1965 - Buddy Ebsen - on: Buddy Ebsen Says Howdy
- 1965 - Trini Lopez - on: The Sing-Along World of Trini Lopez
- 1965 - The Righteous Brothers - Philles, on: Just Once in My Life
- 1965 - Doc Severinsen
- 1965 - Big Joe Williams - Rockford IL - Testament TCD 6010, on: These Are My Blues
- 1965-'68 - Mouse & the Traps - Big Beat Records, on: Fraternity Years (released 1997)
- 1966 - Little Willie John - Capitol
- 1967 - Aretha Franklin - Jun 20/23, 1967 - Rhino, on: Aretha Arrives
- 1967 - Bert Kaempfert & His Orchestra - Polydor, on: The World We Knew
- 1967 - James Last - Polydor, on: Sax à Gogo
- 1967 - Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers - Prestige, on: Shuckin' and Jivin'
- 1968 - Mose Allison - on: I've Been Doin' Some Thinkin'
- 1968 - Mills Brothers - on: Country Music's Greatest Hits
- 1968 - Mitch Ryder - New Voice, on: Mitch Ryder Sings The Hits
- 1969 - Carl Smith - on: Take It Like a Man
- 1970 - Mississippi John Hurt - April 15, 1966 - Oberlin, OH - Vanguard 19/20, on: The Best Of Mississippi John Hurt - Mississippi John Hurt (v,g)
- 1970 - Sonny James
- 1970 - Washboard Sam - Spivey 1012, on: Spivey's Blues Parade
- 1972 - The Free Design - Light in the Attic, on: One By One
- 1973 - Big Joe Williams - March 24, 1973 - Amstelveen, Netherlands - Oldie Blues OL 2814, on: Malvina My Sweet Woman
- 1974 - Bryan Ferry - Virgin, on: Another Time, Another Place
- 1975 - Chuck Berry - Aug. 28, 1974 - ? - Chess 60032, on: Chuck Berry (75) - Chuck Berry (v,p,g), Ernie Hayes (p), Billy Peek, Elliot Randall (g), Wilbur Bascomb, Greg Edick (b), Jimmy Johnson, Jr., Ron Reed, Earl Williams (d)
- 1975 - Ray Brown - Concord Jazz, on: Brown's Bag
- 1975 - The Chambers Brothers - Acrobat, on: Live (released ?)
- 1975 - Bert Jantsch - Virgin, on: Santa Barbara Honeymoon
- 1975 - Alexis Korner - Sequel, on: Get Off My Cloud
- 1978 - Jim Kweskin - on: Lives Again
- 1979 - Ernestine Anderson - Concord, on: Sunshine
- '80s - Boxcar Willie
- 1984 - Willie Nelson - RCA, on: Help Me Make It Through the Night
- 1984 - Joe Poovey
- 1989 - Santiago Jimenez, Jr. - Rounder, on: Familia Y Tradicion
- 1990 - Band of Blacky Ranchette - Restless, on: Sage Advice
- 1990 - Madeline Eastman - Madkat, on: Point of Departure
- 1991 - Ray Brown Trio - Concord Jazz, on: Three Dimensional
- 1993 - Big Bill Bissonnette - Jazz Crusade, on: Big Bill's British Band
- 1997 - Ann Hampton Callaway - Denon, on: After Ours
- 1997 - Monty Sunshine's Jazz Band - April 28/29, 1996 - Timeless, on: You Are My Sunshine
- 1998 - Tricia Tahara - Savant, on: Secrets
- 1999 - Patricia Barber - July 17/19, 1999 - Koch/Premonition, on: Companion
- 1999 - Bill & Audrey - Reckless, on: Looking Back to See
- 1999 - Eva Jay Fortune - on: So Far Gone
- 2000 - Norman Blake - on: O Brother, Where Are Thou? / Soundtrack
- 2000 - Peter Malick - Mr. Cat Music, on: Sons of the Jet Age
- 2001 - Chas & Dave - Cleveland International, on: Chas & Dave's Street Party
- 2001 - Erika Stucky - Traumton, on: Bubbles & Bones
- 2002 - Henry Butler - Basin Street, on: The Game Has Just Begun
- 2002 - Ronn Hill - on: Ronn up the Hill
- 2004 - Johnny Cash - on: Unearthed
- 2005 - Bob Davenport - Topic, on: The Common Stone
- 2005 - Lucille Rose D'Armi - on: My Matchless Mother
- 2005 - Sara Gazarek - April 2005 - Native Language Music, on: Yours
- 2005 - Stine J. - Lakeshore, on: Mr. & Mrs. Smith / Soundtrack
- 2005 - John Larsen - 2005 - Greyday, on: Kismet
- 2006 - Crossing North - Crossing North, on: Fragile
- 2006 - Jessica Elbert - on: Anlage
- 2006 - Kevin Hays - March 31-April 1, 2004 - Act, on: Open Range: Piano Works III
- 2006 - Lesser Birds of Paradise - 2005,06 - Contraphonic, on: Space Between
- 2006 - Jessie Lee Miller - 2004/05 - Goofin', on: Now You're Gonna Be Loved
- 2006 - Mat Schuh - Rebeat, on: Mat Schuh Plays Ray Charles: A Man and His Soul
- 2006 - Grady Tate - 2001 - Half Note Records, on: From the Heart: Songs Sung Live at the Blue Note
- 2007 - Rita Chiarelli - Mad Iris Records, on: No-One to Blame
- 2007 - Livin' Out Loud - Pyramid/Kin, on: What About Us
- 2007 - Sam Marshall - Sam Marshall, on: The Absolution of Sunny Boy Sam
- 2007 - Tutu Puoane - Music & Words, on: Song
- 2007 - Cynthia Sayer - Nov. 27-Dec. 5, 2006 - Plunk, on: Attractions
- 2007 - Carly Simon - Columbia, on: Into White
- 2007 - Marva Wright - Aim, on: After the Levees Broke
- 2008 - Mahalie Barnes & the Soul Mates - Alba, on: Volume 1
- 2008 - Bill Henderson - March 22, 2007 - Santa Monica CA (Vic) - Ahuh Productions, on: Beautiful Memory: Live at the Vic
- 2008 - B.B. King - Oct 26-30, 2006 - Geffen, on: Live
- 2008 - Mahalia Barnes - Alba, on: Mahalia Barnes and the Soul Mates
- 2008 - The Social Services - 2008 - Stereo Test Kit, on: It's Nothing Personal, It's National Security
- 2008 - Syretha - on: Syretha
- 2008 - Frank Turner - Xtra Mile, on: The First Three Years
- 2008 - Elizabeth Mitchell
- 2009 - Laurel Aitken - Presure Drop, on: Original Cool Jamaican Ska
- 2009 - Ran Blake - Tompkins Square, on: Driftwoods
- 2009 - Michelle Nicolle - Australian Broadcasting Corporation Studios, Southbank, Melbourne - Nov. 19-21, 2008 - ABC, on: The Loveliest Night
- 2012 - B.B. King - June 28, 2011 - London UK - Universal, on: B.B. King and Friends Live at the Royal Albert Hall - B.B. King, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Ronnie Wood, Mick Hucknall, Slash...
- 2014 - Yusuf [ Cat Stevens ] - Sony, on: Tell 'em I'm Gone - Yusuf Islam (v,e-g), Matt Sweeney (e-g), Eyadou Ag Leche, Iyad Ben Abderahmane (e-g), Tinariwen (claps, vocal drones, perc)Jason Lader (b), Chris Dave (d), Yoriyos, Monique Harcum, Abdallah Ag Alhouseybi (v)
- 2015 - The Phantoms
- 2016 - Jasmine Thompson
- 2018 - Moira Dela Torre
- 2018 - Kina Grannis
- 2019 - Christina Perri
- 2019 - Brennan Lassiter
Appearances within popular cultureEdit
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- Take Me Back to Oklahoma (1940) – sung by Tex Ritter
- Strictly in the Groove (1942) – sung by Jimmie Davis.
- Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins (1975)
- O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
- On January 1, 1939, the Carter Family performed the song for broadcast on a border radio station.
- In a 1999 episode of Star Trek: Voyager, Someone to Watch Over Me (Star Trek: Voyager), Seven of Nine (played by Jeri Ryan) and The Doctor (played by Robert Picardo) sing "You Are My Sunshine" as a way of encouraging Seven of Nine to develop a hobby. Both Ryan and Picardo did their own singing in these scenes.
- In a 2002 episode of Hey Arnold!, The Racing Mule, Arnold is able to calm down an otherwise aggressing racehorse, Glueboy, by singing "You Are My Sunshine" to him.
- On the 2016 TV series Bloodline, Robert Rayburn frequently strums the song on his ukulele and sings it throughout season 1, and in season 2, episode 9 (airdate May 28, 2017) Evangeline sings it to Nolan and Sally.
- In March 2020, British choirmaster Gareth Malone announced a new initiative titled the Great British Home Chorus, a new home choir for people internationally whilst everyone was stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.For the finale Malone orchestrated a choral version of You Are My Sunshine with over 11,000 singers taking part, accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra. The song was released as a single, with all the profits being donated to NHS Charities Together.
- Joel Whitburn Presents Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004, 2004 (Record Research) pg. 113
- CD liner notes: Disney Children's Favorites 4, 1990 Disney Records
- Deusner, Stephen (May 26, 2013). "'You Are My Sunshine': How a Maudlin Song Became a Children's Classic". Salon.com.
- "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
- Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 615. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
- "Simon & Garfunkel Song Among Those to Be Preserved by Library of Congress". Huntington Post. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- "Virginia Ruth Kilpatrick Shehee". The Shreveport Times. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
- "Performance: You Are My Sunshine by The Pine Ridge Boys | SecondHandSongs". secondhandsongs.com. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- Russell, Tony, and Bob Pinson. Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921–1942 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 697.
- Russell, Tony, and Bob Pinson. Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921–1942 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 746.
- "The Carter Family on Border Radio 1939 (Volume 3)" (PDF). folkways-media.si.edu. 1999. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- "The Carter Family On Border Radio, Vol. 3". amazon.com. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- "You Are My Sunshine/Happy Or Lonesome by The Carter Family". www.song-list.net. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- "The Carter Family - Happy Or Lonesome / The East Virginia Blues". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- "The Carter Family - Happy Or Lonesome Lyrics". musiXmatch. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- Russell, Tony, and Bob Pinson. Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921–1942 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 304.
- "Rosemont Records, Inc". www.rosemontrecords.com. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- "Who Owns "You Are My Sunshine"?". sub-Q Magazine. 2015-09-29. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- Pappas, Theodore (November 1990). "The 'Theft' of an American Classic". Chronicles. The Rockford Institute.
- Jeff Hannusch (October 1, 2009). "Classic Songs of Louisiana: 'You Are My Sunshine'". OffBeat.
- "You Are My Sunshine - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- The Civil Wars – You Are My Sunshine, retrieved 2020-08-20
- "Miley Cyrus - You Are My Sunshine (Song) - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- April 12, Chuck ArmstrongPublished:; 2016. "Dave Cobb Discusses the Stapletons' 'You Are My Sunshine'". The Boot. Retrieved 2020-08-20.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- Writer, Anna Haas | Staff. "New EP by Frank Iero and the Patience features raw reworkings of old songs". The Red and Black. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- "The Voice's Brennan Lassiter Had Gwen Stefani Offering a 2 for 1 Deal". Life & Style. 2019-09-24. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- Berger, John (March 19, 2020). "Island Mele: Jaxon celebrates love". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
- Lowe, Leslie (1992). Directory of Popular Music (3rd ed.). Hastings, UK: Music Master. p. 355. ISBN 0-904520-70-6.
- Reynolds, Fred (1986). The Crosby Collection 1926-1977 (Part Two ed.). Gateshead, UK: John Joyce. p. 220.
- Rooney, David. "'Bloodline': Berlin Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Ramos, Dino-Ray (July 31, 2017). "Sam Shepard: 'Bloodline' Co-Stars, Nancy Meyers, Reese Witherspoon Remember Legendary Actor-Writer". Deadline Hollywood.
- Shaw Roberts, Maddy (31 July 2020). "11,000 voices sing 'You Are My Sunshine' in heartwarming finale to Gareth Malone's lockdown choir". Classic FM. Retrieved 7 August 2020.