Sunday, June 28, 2009

Music Business Monthly Presents a dazzling variety of renditions of Bobby Hebb's song "Sunny"

Music Business Monthly  PRESENTS - 

Joe Jewell, Denny Jiosa, Roy Nathanson cover "Sunny"

Written by Joe Viglione
Sunday, 28 June 2009 05:10
Bobby Hebb's classic song "Sunny" is such a presence in his career that it overshadows Lou Rawls Grammy-winning hit, "A Natural Man" (written by Bobby Hebb and actor Sandy Baron), his huge British Northen soul hit "Love Love Love", the Gamble & Huff masterpiece (also a Northern Soul favorite) "You Want To Change Me" that was Hebb's final 45 RPM for Philips before he moved on to record Love Games for Epic, eclipsing his phenomenal work with John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, Barry & The Remains on the Beatles 1966 tour, his tour with The Yardbirds featuring Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck and other aspects of his artistry that would've been a complete career for anyone else.

To start off your "Sunny" obsession it is best to begin with the Roof Music compilations that Rudiger Ladwig released in Germany in the early 2000's:

Part 2 features the James Brown and Dee Felice Trio featuring Marva Whitney, Chris Montez, Les mcCann, Shirley Bassey, Jose Feliciano, The Four Tops, Marian Love, The Walker Brothers, Paul Kuhn, Trini Lopez, Young Holt Trio, Marvin Gaye, The Electric Flag, Leonard Nimoy, Ella Fitzgerald, Gary Lewis & The Playboys and Brother Jack McDuff and David Newman. This was the 17 track 2002 follow-up to 2000's Part 1
Part 1 featured the original Bobby Hebb version, Arthur Lyman Group, Georgie Fame, Booker T and the MG's, Dusty Springfield, John Schroeder Orchestra, Robert Mitchum, Stan Kenton, Herbie Mann & Tamiko Jones, Stanley Turrentine, Andy Williams, The Ventures, Cher, Jimmy Smith, Wilson Pickett and Nancy Wilson -16 renditions.
So 33 songs are on the two Roof Music compilations.
Originally released on the Getting Down To It album

Remixed on the ULTIMATE REMIXES of James Brown

It Takes 2: Essential Soul & Funk Duets

Bobby tells us "I took a Park Avenue couple to Harlem to Big Wilt Chamberlain's Smal's Paradise. Van Johnson used to come up. That was the place to go to do the Twist. And James Brown was there this particular night, I took Dick Seid (an attorney from Mexico) and Peggy Burns. I invited James Brown to join us at the table and he got to meet the two associates of mine" (this was sometime in the 1960s, possibly 1968). "Usually when entertainers get together we discuss entertaining ideas. In this case we discussed music, a King Curtis song. I was trying to get my mind away from the word "twist" and work with other themes." James Brown had a daughter with the great Yvonne Fair. Yvonne's sister, Carolyn, would sometimes open as a dancer for Bobby Hebb's show at the Blue Morocco.
Marva Whitney's duet with James Brown is also on her own 1969 album It's My Thing

"Sunny" has become a jazz classic, a staple in the world of jazz for guitarists, pianists, xylophone players, it is amazing how the song lends itself to inspiring masters of the craft to reinvent it and explore each nuance of Hebb's masterpiece. Here are some cover versions worth finding on

Bobby Hebb performs on "Sunny" with Denny Jiosa. Check out the Dreams Like This CD.

Roy Nathanson's Sotto Voce

The distinctive sound of George Benson wasn't a household thought in 1967, but going back and hearing the Verve recording of "Sunny" one can hear the sound that made Benson famous.

Melba Moore is actually one of the backing vocalists on Bobby Hebb's hit version.

I believe she released her recording of "Sunny" on two albums, Mercury Records "I Got Love" released on June 9, 1970 Catalog#: SR-61287 also issued as "Living To Give" with, perhaps, a zoom-in of the cover SR-61255 STEREO
I Got Love
LIVING TO GIVE (Mercury #61255) SR-61255 STEREO

All So is Sophia Villamor from France with a breathy version of "Sunny"

Pat Martino's Head And Heart Consciousness: Live
Head & Heart: Consciousness/Live
Here's what Pico had to say "But I chose to spotlight the third tune because it proves that Pat didn't need complex material to astound the living begeezus out of you. He can take a familiar, straightforward pop tune like the 1966 Bobby Hebb smash hit "Sunny" and blow you away all the same.

Following a minute in which the theme is played out, Martino launches into his solo carefully building intensity over the next four minutes and forty-five seconds. Through it all he is always locked into the groove. His tone is soft and while his guitar is a tad undermiked, you can still hear every note, because he plucks his notes clearly." (from Something Else Reviews
There's a Japanese quasi-garage version by Anki released on WEA in 2008

Sandi & The Accents Live in 2007

Dwight Adams has a funky version on his Soul Master CD


This version is on my cellphone as a ringtone.
The "Timeless" album has been re-packed with "Frankie Valli Solo" on Collectors Choice

So Collectors Choice has packaged the Frankie Valli, Johnny Mathis, Andy Williams versions of "Sunny" for the new millennium on CD while Collectables has released Percy Faith - all on two-fers.
Johnny Mathis

ANDY WILLIAMS 'BORN FREE' album contains "Sunny"
It was paired with 'Love Andy' for a Collectables re-release
Percy Faith re-released on Collectables
Stock photo
originally on his "For Those In Love" lp

Frank Sinatra
Cy Coleman
Ben Tucker discovering "Sunny" - from Tucker's biography page
Multi-talented and eager to expand his repertoire of accomplishments, Ben became involved in the music publishing business. Among the tunes he published, “Sunny” was his greatest success. The song became an immediate sensation and firmly established itself among contemporary standards. The commercial success of “Sunny” heralded a changing point in Ben’s career. He was now in a position to explore and invest in other business ventures. 

Bobby Hebb told Music Business Monthly on 6-28 "Eric (Colodne) was in control of Portable Music; that was the first song that he had. Colodne was Cy Coleman's nephew. Ben Tucker, the bass player, brought it to Eric Colodne. A guy named Sandy Scott, from Jackson Tennessee, where Bobby's mother is from, "and he introduced me to Ben Tucker; it's amazing because ben graduated high school with my oldest brother, but they did not know each other."

"I brought the song to Eric, we rehearsed at a little rehearsal hall in New York. We spent 30 minutes (playing it for Eric), we only needed ten or fifteen minutes. And Eric, I can remember the expression on his face. he said "They passed this up?" I don't remember if he was 19 or if he was 20. He was a young man and so was I.
Stock photo
In 2000 Jamey Aebersold did his "A New Approach To Jazz improvisation"

Ronnie Aldrich and his Two Pianos in 2006

Dusty Springfield Where Am I Going?

Other Essentials
1969's THE BRASS ARE COMING Herb Albert & The Tijuana Brass re-released on Foursider

Bill Cosby's Hooray For The Salvation Army Band, a spin on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band including that Beatles hit along with "Sunny"

Bill Cosby Sings Hooray for the Salvation Army Band!

Bill Cosby Sings Hooray for the Salvation Army Band! by Bill Cosby: CD Cover
  • Release Date: 03/28/2006
  • Original Release: 1968

  • UPC: 090431777527

Star Search The Kids 2003

Johnny Rivers Whiskey A Go Go Revisited was re-titled in France as "John Lee Hooker"
According to a webwriter called PC_Music "The US 1967 "Whisky a Go-Go Revisited" Johnny Rivers album has been renamed "John Lee Hooker" for its French release 2 years later. The 15' long B side track became the A side and has been a huge dance-floor hit in France. This track is a tribute to the bluesman John Lee Hooker. This long piece has got a good live atmosphere with a competition between the lead guitar and the organ especially in the long introduction. Unfortunately it is not faultless; it is way too redundant with too many "I Can't Get no Satisfaction" and "Baby Please Don't Go" tags. Some passages are uninspired and a bit hollow. The other tracks are all covers. They are generally good except "A Hard Day's Night" and "When a Man Loves a Woman" which are more forgettable.

A good album but not great. It is very overrated in France."

Another famous French version is Richard Anthony who translated it. Very Phil Spector-ish
appears on six of his albums including Les Plus Belles Chansons de Richard Anthony
It is on multiple Ernestine Eckstein albums including one from 1979 entitled "Sunshine"
and a Latino version by Los Aragon

Ray Nance's 'Body And Soul' CD was released on March 14, 2006 by the Mighty Quinn Label. Originally released on the Solid State (SS 18062) label, a division of United  Artists / Transamerica, it was produced by Duke Pearson and arranged by Ray Nance. "Sunny" comes in at 3:06 with Ray Nance on Violin and vocal.

Body and Soul *
Stock photo

Oscar Peterson's Motions & Emotions album is now on CD, originally released in 1972 on BASF 20713 in the U.S. with the UK on MPS/BASF (MPS) 1973. Sunny appears on Side 1, track 2.
CD is a VERVE release, December 4, 1990.
Oscar Peterson, Sam Jones, Bobby Durham, Claus Ogerman Orchestra
Sunny was included on the 6 song e.p. of Earl Grant's Golden Favorites

as well as the full album

Charlie Brown 45 RPM "(Funky)SUNNY" Flying Dutchmen on

Boney M

The Classics IV do a version of "Sunny" which sounds like the flip side of "Stormy", and remember in "Stormy" they sing "Bring back those Sunny days..."
Dennis Yost and The Classics IV-Golden Greats Volume 1-LP-1969-Imperial LP 16000
Product imageThe Lost Tapes Vol. 2 by Maynard Ferguson
Product imageRidin' High by Maynard Ferguson

Product imageWillie Bobo's Finest Hour with "Sunny"

Last Updated on Sunday, 28 June 2009 18:56



* (new addition, as of 5/1/13)
1001 (plus 80 downloads)

Ambos *Seelos Show  EMI 13C062-33961                Smile and Dance (Switzerland)
Awe, Dennis                 Intercontinental IC203  An Evening With The Velvet Touch, Vol. 1& Vol. 2
                                                                                    *(2 different cover inserts)
Boney M                      *Tshauryang TP-3573              The Best Of Boney M (Asia)
                                    *Arcade 289003                      Fitness “Dancing (German comp)
                                    *Tempo LP7201                      Sunny – Musikbox Vol. 1 (German comp)
                                    *Melodiya C60-12269/70        Raduga (comp, Russia)
Borelly, Jean Claude     *Telefunken 6.24283                Profile (Germany)
Brown, Maxine *Epic BN26395(WLP)            Out Of Sight
Cher                             *Liberty LP-8497                    Sunny (red EverClean wax, Japan)
Conniff, Ray                 *Sony SONP 50301                Jean (Japan, w/ lyric insert)
*Crystal Sounds Orch.Polydor MR4504                      Red Rose (Japan, w/ obi)
*De Boys An’ Dem      Atillana LP-6000                      De Boys An’ Dem (gfold, Trinidad)
Doonican, Val              *Pye NPL18321(M)                Sounds Gentle (UK)
Fernandez, Ray            Sound Triangle ST7778(dj?)*   El Ray De La Salsa (Colombia, for DARO Int’l.)*
Sound Triangle ST7778            El Ray De La Salsa (Colombia, for DARO Int’l.)*
*Gilla                           Hansa 28 492OT                     Lieh Mich Aus (w/ poster, Germany)
                                    Hansa 200 314-231                 Gilla – Star Discothek (Germany)
*Hara, Nobuo              Columbia YS-10038J               Forest Flower (gfold, Japan)
Hatch, Tony                 *Pye NSPL18164                    A Latin Happening (UK, mono jkt)
Hebb, Bobby               Philips BL7740(M)                   Sunny *(UK, 1st press; laminated front, paste-up back                                                                                     covers)
*High, Martha &          Freestyle RLP096                    Soul Overdrive (UK)
*Hill, Freddy                Cuca KS-71-1                         For The Good Times (correction from Freddy Hall)
*Kingston, Hardy         MCA MAPS 2173                  High Life Music (Germany)
Lamont, Duncan           *MFP MFP5093                     Best Of The Bossa Novas (Italy)
*Layton, Roger            SRT 78115                              My Favourites (UK)
Lettermen, The *Capitol STM21496                Los Lettermen En Mexico (Mexico)
Mauriat, Paul                *Power Exchange PXL027      Two Sides Of Paul Mauriat (UK)
Mellow Fruitfulness       *Odeon URL OP-8278           A Whiter Shade Of Pale (red wax, Japan)
Morris, Sarah Jane       *Liberation LIB 5185(dj)         Sarah Jane Morris (Australia)
Music Minus One         MMO 1053                             Do Your Own Thing (13 Rhythm Backgrounds) w/
                                                                                    Rich Mattheson Quartet *(blue jacket)
*MMO 1053                           Do Your Own Thing (13 Rhythm Backgrounds) w/
                                                                                    Rich Mattheson Quartet (pink jacket, w/ book)
New Classic Singers     *Capitol T2599(M)                  Big Hit Sounds Of The New Classic Singers (PROMO
Reese, Della                 *HMV CLP3605(M)               One More Time! (UK)
Rhapsody                     Melodiya 33C60-12195-6       I Hurry To Your Love (Russia, red label)*
                                    *Melodiya 33C60-12195-6     I Hurry To Your Love (Russia, pink label)

Smith, Jimmy                *Verve SVLP9253                  Groove Drops (UK)
                                    *Verve 2317 019(RI)               Groove Drops (UK, SELECT series)
                                    *Verve 2632-001                    Jazz History – Vol 1 (2LP, Germany)
Starr Orch., Eddy         *Keser KE002                         Guitaresque (gfold, Germany)
Tsunoda, Hiro              *Philips 16Y-13                       The Best (W/ OBI, Japan)
*Turner, Claudia           DHS 4673                               Claudia Turner with David Wells
U.S. Air Force Band    *Program 366                          Serenade In Blue (radio show)
*Violinos Magicos        Musidisc 607.7053                   Violinos Magicos/3 (Brazil)
*Waidele’s Conver-     RR Records 090588                It’s All In Your Head (2 LP, Germany, Jim Webb
            sation Orch.                                                      credit)

Al Russ Orchestra        *Grenn 14235                              ?      Sunny Cha/Yellow Bird (round dance/call sht)
Boney M                      *Melodyia 62-07333-4                ?      Sunny/Daddy Cool (blue flexi, PS w/ titles +                                                                                        nos, Russia)                             
                                    *Melodyia 62-07333-4                ?      Sunny/Daddy Cool (blue flexi, PS w/o titles +                                                                                      nos, Russia)
Caravelli                       *CBS EP 12075                          ?      Sunny + 3, PS, France
Criss, Sonny                 *Prestige SMJ-1027                    ?      Sunny/Up, Up And Away (PS, Japan)
Fame, Georgie              *Columbia DSA 687                1966    Sunny/Don't Make Promises (South Africa)
                                    *Odeon 33-3514                         ?      Sunny/No Hagas Promesas (Uruguay)
Hebb, Bobby               *Emidisc 1-sided acetate             ?      Sunny (UK)
Kenton, Stan                *Capitol K23 714                        ?      Sunny/Dragnet (PS, Germany)
Mabley, Moms *Mercury MF1127(dj)     ?      Sunny/Abraham, Martin and John(UK)
Malvicino                     *CEM 3004                                 ?      The Latin Touch Of … – Sunny + 3, PS, Spain
Marco, Ray                  Thunderbird 508                       1970    Sunny/More (Sung In Italian) *(Herb)
Mauriat, Paul                *Philips 373 944 BF                    ?       Sunny/Tengo Miedo (“J’ai Peur”) (PS, Spain)
                                    Fonogram 373944BF(dj)*          ?       Sunny/Tengo Miedo (“J’ai Peur”) (PS, Spain)
*Promdan, Plern           Star ST-573                                ?       Sunny/? (Thailand)
*Tilt-Down Men, The   D’Swan DS-1204                        ?      Sunny/Big Time Operator (Philippines)
Yambu                         Sonolux 1976(DELETE)              ?      Sunny/Caballo (Colombia)
*Sonolux 11-11344                 1976   Sunny/Caballo (Colombia)

7” EP’s:
*Aldrich, Ronnie           London LS523             1969    Love Is Blue - Sunny + 3, hard PS, Japan
Mauriat, Paul                *Philips 424 503 BE                     ?      Paul Mauriat #3 – Sunny + 3, hard PS, Portugal
*Tempo, Nino &          London EPP-871                     1967    All Strung Out – Sunny + 3, hard PS, Mexico
            April Stevens
Williams, Andy *MTR 143                                   ?      Sunny + 3, PS, Thailand

10” EP’s, SINGLES:

12” Singles:
Boney M                      *Edel 0090760                             ?     Sunny – 2 mixes + 1 (UK)
Yambu                         *Vampi Soul 45056                 2012    Sunny/Hippopotamus (EU, reworked by The
                                                                                                Whiskey Barons, 196/300)

*Fluitar             Self                                          Interweavings
*Prince & the NPG      NPG --                                                One Night Alone … The Aftershow; It Ain’t Over
*Sophie                        TTM 09032                             Sunny (promo CD single)

Jazz Three, The            Superscope A023-T                 Daytripper (cassette, Kazuo Yashiro)