You Are My Sunshine

"You Are My Sunshine" is a song popularized by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell[1] 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
Published1939
Songwriter(s)

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."[2] 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."[2] In 1941, it was recorded by Gene Autry, Bing Crosby,[3] Mississippi John Hurt, Wayne King and Lawrence Welk.[2] The versions by Autry, Crosby, and King reached the US charts of the day.[4]

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.[2]

The 1940 version by Davis was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress on March 21, 2013, for long-term preservation.[5]

Virginia Shehee, a long-time Davis family friend and member of the Louisiana State Senate from 1976 to 1980, introduced legislation to make "You Are My Sunshine" the official state song.[6]

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.[7][8]

The Rice Brothers Gang recorded the song for Decca Records on September 13, 1939, by [9] 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.[10][11][12] (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"[13] 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."[14])

Jimmie DavisEdit

The version by Jimmie Davis was recorded for Decca Records on February 5, 1940.[15]

AuthorshipEdit

According to Theodore Pappas, in a November 1990 article in Chronicles Magazine, the author was Oliver Hood of LaGrange, Georgia.[16][17]

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,[18] 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.[18]

According to OffBeat magazine,[19] 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".[2]

DiscographyEdit

  • 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)
  • 1940 - The Airport Boys - New York City - Sept. 30, 1940 - Buck Nation (v,g), Ed West (v,g), Lloyd West (v,sb)
  • 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
  • 1953 - Les Brown - The Les Brown Show from Hollywood 1953
  • 1957 - Aron Young - Capitol, on: Sweethearts Or Strangers
  • '60s - Bill Haley - Jan. 7, 1960-Dec. 16, 1969 - Bear Family, on: The Warner Brothers Years & More (released 1999)
  • 1961 - Pete Seeger - Folkways 2323, on: American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 4
  • 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)
  • 1963 - Dick Dale & the Del-Tones - on: King of the Surf Guitar
  • 1963 - Marvin Gaye - Sep 9, 1963 - London UK - Motown, on: On Stage Recorded Live
  • 1963 - The Ventures - Dolton, on: Ventures Play the Country Classics
  • 1963/'64 - Alex Harvey - Bear Family, on: Alex Harvey and His Soul Band
  • 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 - Trini Lopez - on: The Sing-Along World of Trini Lopez
  • 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)
  • 1967 - Bert Kaempfert & His Orchestra - Polydor, on: The World We Knew
  • 1968 - Mitch Ryder - New Voice, on: Mitch Ryder Sings The Hits
  • 1970 - Mississippi John Hurt - April 15, 1966 - Oberlin, OH - Vanguard 19/20, on: The Best Of Mississippi John Hurt - Mississippi John Hurt (v,g)
  • 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 - Ray Brown - Concord Jazz, on: Brown's Bag
  • 1984 - Willie Nelson - RCA, on: Help Me Make It Through the Night
  • 1997 - Monty Sunshine's Jazz Band - April 28/29, 1996 - Timeless, on: You Are My Sunshine
  • 1999 - Patricia Barber - July 17/19, 1999 - Koch/Premonition, on: Companion
  • 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
  • 2002 - Henry Butler - Basin Street, on: The Game Has Just Begun
  • 2005 - Sara Gazarek - April 2005 - Native Language Music, on: Yours
  • 2005 - Stine J. - Lakeshore, on: Mr. & Mrs. Smith / Soundtrack
  • 2006 - Kevin Hays - March 31-April 1, 2004 - Act, on: Open Range: Piano Works III
  • 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 - Sam Marshall - Sam Marshall, on: The Absolution of Sunny Boy Sam
  • 2007 - Cynthia Sayer - Nov. 27-Dec. 5, 2006 - Plunk, on: Attractions
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 2019 - Brennan Lassiter[25]

Appearances within popular cultureEdit

CinemaEdit

BroadcastsEdit

RadioEdit

TelevisionEdit

See alsoEdit

SourcesEdit

  • Joel Whitburn Presents Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004, 2004 (Record Research) pg. 113

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ CD liner notes: Disney Children's Favorites 4, 1990 Disney Records
  2. ^ a b c d e Deusner, Stephen (May 26, 2013). "'You Are My Sunshine': How a Maudlin Song Became a Children's Classic". Salon.com.
  3. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, USA: Record Research Inc. p. 615. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  5. ^ "Simon & Garfunkel Song Among Those to Be Preserved by Library of Congress". Huntington Post. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  6. ^ "Virginia Ruth Kilpatrick Shehee". The Shreveport Times. Retrieved July 9, 2015.
  7. ^ "Performance: You Are My Sunshine by The Pine Ridge Boys | SecondHandSongs". secondhandsongs.com. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  8. ^ Russell, Tony, and Bob Pinson. Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921–1942 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 697.
  9. ^ Russell, Tony, and Bob Pinson. Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921–1942 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 746.
  10. ^ a b "The Carter Family on Border Radio 1939 (Volume 3)" (PDF). folkways-media.si.edu. 1999. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  11. ^ "The Carter Family On Border Radio, Vol. 3". amazon.com. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  12. ^ "You Are My Sunshine/Happy Or Lonesome by The Carter Family". www.song-list.net. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  13. ^ "The Carter Family - Happy Or Lonesome / The East Virginia Blues". Discogs. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  14. ^ "The Carter Family - Happy Or Lonesome Lyrics". musiXmatch. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  15. ^ Russell, Tony, and Bob Pinson. Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921–1942 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 304.
  16. ^ "Rosemont Records, Inc". www.rosemontrecords.com. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  17. ^ "Who Owns "You Are My Sunshine"?". sub-Q Magazine. 2015-09-29. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  18. ^ a b Pappas, Theodore (November 1990). "The 'Theft' of an American Classic". Chronicles. The Rockford Institute.
  19. ^ Jeff Hannusch (October 1, 2009). "Classic Songs of Louisiana: 'You Are My Sunshine'". OffBeat.
  20. ^ "You Are My Sunshine - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  21. ^ The Civil Wars – You Are My Sunshine, retrieved 2020-08-20
  22. ^ "Miley Cyrus - You Are My Sunshine (Song) - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  23. ^ 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)
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ "The Voice's Brennan Lassiter Had Gwen Stefani Offering a 2 for 1 Deal". Life & Style. 2019-09-24. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  26. ^ Berger, John (March 19, 2020). "Island Mele: Jaxon celebrates love". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Retrieved 2020-08-20.
  27. ^ a b Lowe, Leslie (1992). Directory of Popular Music (3rd ed.). Hastings, UK: Music Master. p. 355. ISBN 0-904520-70-6.
  28. ^ Reynolds, Fred (1986). The Crosby Collection 1926-1977 (Part Two ed.). Gateshead, UK: John Joyce. p. 220.
  29. ^ Rooney, David. "'Bloodline': Berlin Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
  30. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (July 31, 2017). "Sam Shepard: 'Bloodline' Co-Stars, Nancy Meyers, Reese Witherspoon Remember Legendary Actor-Writer". Deadline Hollywood.
  31. ^ 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.

External linksEdit