By: Bobby Hebb (born Robert Von Hebb on July 26, 1938 in Nashville, Tennessee, died August 3, 2010.)
Bobby Hebb began performing with his older brother Harold as a song-and-dance team in Nashville when Harold was nine years old and Bobby was three years old. 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, playing spoons and other instruments in Acuff's band.
Harold later became a member of Johnny Bragg (who wrote "Just Walkin' In The Rain") and the Marigolds. 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. Many claim that the song he wrote after both tragedies was the optimistic "Sunny". Hebb himself stated otherwise. He did immerse himself in the Gerald Wilson album Would You Believe for comfort.
Hebb: "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'."
The four note riff just before the first key change was taken from John Barry's famous James Bond theme, made popular in the film Dr. No.
It was met with immediate success, which resulted in Hebb touring in 1966 with the Beatles. It is said that Hebb nearly upstaged them at times.
In 1999 BMI ranked "Sunny" at #25 on their list of the Top 100 Songs Of The Century in terms of radio play.
Chart position: #2 (US), #3 (US R&B), #12 (UK).
It was kept from the #1 spot by "Summer In The City" (Lovin' Spoonful).
The Top Ten Songs: August 27, 1966 (US Billboard Hot 100).
- "Summer in the City" (Lovin' Spoonful)
- "Sunny" (Bobby Hebb)
- "See You in September" (Happenings)
- "Lil' Red Riding Hood" (Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs)
- "Sunshine Superman" (Donovan)
- "Wild Thing" (Troggs)
- "You Can't Hurry Love" (Supremes)
- "Yellow Submarine" (Beatles)
- "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love" (Petula Clark)
- "Summertime" (Billy Stewart)
Written by: Bobby Hebb.
Also by: Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Frankie Valli, the Four Tops, Cher, Dusty Springfield, Marvin Gaye, Wilson Picket, Jose Feliciano and James Brown.
My two cents: This song contains some of the great lines of any song, period:
Sunny, thank you for the truth you've let me see
Sunny, thank you for the facts from A to Z
My life was torn like wind-blown sand
Then a rock was formed when we held hands
Sunny, one so true, I love you
Awesome! It's like high-wattage poetry that grows more vivid and powerful in light of Bobby Hebb's death on August 3, 2010.
Download MP3s from Amazon.com:
Want to submit facts and trivia about this song? Leave a comment!