Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published March 3rd 2023
We've always sung about the sun
It is now February and, in Australia, that means we are at the end of summer, and this is also generally the hottest part of summer. I was trying to work out what to do some music columns about in relation to this when it was pointed out to me that I had not actually done any songs about the sun. That is an odd oversight.
So, here is the first of a series of columns related to the sun!
There will be more recent songs about the sun, songs about sunshine, and songs about sunset and sunrise to come, so those will be missing from this list. Sorry in advance. Yes, when I picked this topic, I knew there would be quite a few songs, but to find so many that I wanted to showcase… wow!
Normal rules – one song per artist, one version of each song and I need to like the song. And with that in mind, here's songs from before 1990 about the sun and things being sunny.
'Island In The Sun' by Harry Belafonte (1957)
Harry Belafonte had an amazing and almost instantly recognisable voice, and this song, yearning for an island home, is a perfect example of his talent.
'California Sun' by The Rivieras (1964)
When we look at songs about the sun, there had to be a surf classic in there somewhere, and this song by almost-forgotten band The Rivieras is a fun bit of percussion-based music.
'The Warmth Of The Sun' by The Beach Boys (1964)
For The Beach Boys, I decided to go for one of their best ballads. They later remade it with Willie Nelson, and, if you can track that version down, it is also worth a listen.
'Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying' by Gerry And The Pacemakers (1965)
This classic track might have felt out of place at the time it was released, but it has gone down as a glorious ballad that has stood the test of time.
'I Live For The Sun' by The Sunrays (1965)
Another surf song, between the ballad and fast-paced fun track, and one that is all but forgotten today. However, it is one I really like, mainly because it was one of the summer songs my high school group of friends adopted.
'The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore' by The Walker Brothers (1966)
This song has become the song most people associate with The Walker brothers, with Scott Walker's amazing vocals at the forefront.
'The Sun's Gonna Shine Tomorrow' by Johnny O'Keefe (1966)
An artist not known outside of Australia, and a song that is not remembered by many outside his fanbase. One of his yell-sung songs, this is an amazingly positive track.
'Sunny Afternoon' by The Kinks (1966)
The Kinks went from the rock side of the British Invasion to the quirky side of English music (and later to 'Lola'), and this track encapsulates that second phase of their career quite well.
'Third Stone From The Sun' by The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967)
The titular stone is, of course, the Earth, but that hardly matters as Hendrix plays this amazing blues-rock track.
'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun' by Pink Floyd (1968)
From Pink Floyd's second album, where David Gilmour came in and added that incredible guitar playing, this is the highlight of that album, a glorious piece of music indicating what was to come from them in the 1970s.
'Ice In The Sun' by Status Quo (1968)
Status Quo when they were still in their psychedelic phase before hitting the twelve-bar boogie that they became associated with until today.
'Here Comes The Sun' by The Beatles (1969)
There were a few Beatles songs I could have chosen, but I find this George Harrison penned track to be the best of their "sun" songs, a song of hope and so well played.
'Seasons In The Sun' by Terry Jacks (1973)
A later period death song, told from the point of view of the one who is dying. Maudlin, but still strangely popular.
'Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me' by Elton John (1974)
The duet version with George Michael is probably better known nowadays, but I think the original deserves some love, so here it is.
'Holidays In The Sun' by Sex Pistols (1977)
And for a complete change of pace, here are the band that were at the forefront of UK punk. Not as well known as some of their other tracks, still a great piece, and this is my favourite of their guitar riffs.
'April Sun In Cuba' by Dragon (1977)
One of Dragon's first charting singles, this bit of pop-rock goodness is just a really fun song about wanting to get away from it all.
'Blister In The Sun' by Violent Femmes (1983)
For a while there, the opening notes of this song played by every pub-rock cover band would get the whole audience cheering immediately. Another really good song, and another slice of pop-rock fun.
'I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me' by Nik Kershaw (1983)
Nik Kershaw had a few big singles in the 1980s, and then fell away from the charts, which surprised me, as he had a strong voice and was a decent instrumentalist.
'The Sun Always Shines On TV' by a-ha (1985)
This was a-ha's follow-up to 'Take On Me', and for a long while I preferred it to that first single. I think it showcases Morten Harket's voice much better. Now I like them both equally.
'Always The Sun' by The Stranglers (1986)
They started as a punk band, but really hit the pop-rock sphere in the 1980s, and this is one of the Stranglers' better songs. It soars at just the right places, and sounds so good.
And there we are, twenty songs from more than 33 years ago about the sun. I hope you found something here to enjoy.