Top Tune of the Week

Week of April 27, 2011

James Brown - Sunny

In 1969, James Brown released Gettin’ Down To It, an album recorded with the Dee Felice Trio – the album was a departure for Brown, showcasing a quiter, more introspective side of the Godfather of Soul. The LP’s opening track was a cover of Bobby Hebb’s already iconic “Sunny” – but unlike the countless covers that had been released following Hebb’s ’66 original, Brown re-imagined the tune as a down-tempo duet (with Marva Whitney)… to stunning results.

According to BMI, “Sunny” has generated more than 7 million performances, making it one of the performing rights organization’s all-time most performed songs. A blog devoted to Hebb’s masterpiece – OneSoTrue – lists 656 known covers of the song, from the classic (Wilson Picket) to the bizarre (Leonard Nimoy). Since the blog’s last update we know of a few more – new versions by the Old 97′s Rhett Miller, and the Dap Kings featuring Lee FIelds among them.

“Sunny” was a staple of Brown’s live shows at the time – watch the master at work in this spellbinding live performance from 1971. There will never be another James Brown.
Lyrics to “Sunny” HERE.

Contact & Licensing info: Master (James Brown) controlled by Universal Music Group (ph: 310/865-0770)
Published by Portable Music Inc. (BMI), administered by BMG Rights Management / contact:


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