So it’s a rainy (or snowy, cold, gloomy) day and you’re looking for some sunshine to cheer you up? Lucky for you there’s a slew of pop and rock songs that celebrate the theme of sunny days. So bask in the sunlight as we take a look at the top sunny day songs of all time.
Good Day Sunshine (1966). The Beatles had several sun-inspired songs in their repertoire (Here Come the Sun, I’ll Follow the Sun), but this 1966 song from the Revolver album is by far Fab Four’s most feel-good sunny-day song. Besides the chorus, which cheerfully reminds us that it’s”good day sunshine”, there’s plenty of happy lyrics about a boy who’s simply gung ho in love.
I Can see Clearly Now (1972). Johnny Nash had a hit with this happy-go-lucky song in 1972, so much so that it’s been covered be everyone from Donny Osmond to Screeching Weasel. Still, there’s nothing like the original and Nash’s classic rules on a day when those dark clouds have finally disappeared.
Sunshine On My Shoulders (1973). John Denver had a way of making even a happy song sound sad (with the exception of Thank God I’m a Country Boy) but if you listen to the lyrics of this 1973 hit, you’ll find it’s really a beautiful, joyous song. You can practically feel the warm sunshine on your shoulders when you listen to this tune! Besides, any guy who says sunshine makes him high has got to make this list.
Walking on Sunshine (1983). New wave group Katrina and the Waves had a big hit with this poppy song in 1983 and even if it wasn’t your kind of music, it was one of those songs that just stuck in your head anyway- it was that infectious. Hurricane Katrina put a damper on things in 2005, when the band’s name was used in association with news coverage of the devastating storm. But Katrina and the Waves rode it out and their song still has that unmistakable upbeat charm to it.
Soak Up the Sun (2002). Sheryl Crowe had a #1 hit with this song, which is presumably about taking the time to enjoy the simple things in life. There’s been some controversy over the meaning of the song’s last line, “Got my 45 on, so I can rock on”, but the general consensus among many of Crowe’s fans is the “45” refers to 45 SPF sunscreen. Now that’s some safe soakin’!
Daydream (1966). This song by The Lovin’ Spoonful is a full-on happy tune- complete with whistling and all. Singer John Sebastian seems to be having a nice, relaxing time in this song. Nothing like taking a walk in the sun, breathing in the scent of freshly mown grass, and enjoying an all-day daydream.
Beautiful Day (2000). U2 won three Grammy’s for this song back in 2001, a feel-good anthem about losing almost everything, but still being grateful for what you have left. Lead singer Bono has been said to liken this song to a modern day Christmas song and it does seem to have a George Bailey-esque quality to it.
Summer Breeze (1972). Soft rockers Seals & Crofts’ ode to the carefree days of summer tells of appreciating the little things in life, like a newspaper on the sidewalk and the jasmine in bloom. Seriously, don’t you just smell it blowing in the breeze?
Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (1969). The 5th Dimension recorded this song medley from the psychedelic rock musical Hair in 1969 and the chorus of Let the Sunshine In is the entire second half of the song. The line “Let the sunshine in” is repeated nearly two dozen times, making it nearly impossible for you to forget to…..let the sunshine in.
Sunshine (2004). This Juliana Hatfield song reminds me of a bear waking up after a long hibernation. It’s as if she came up from a long sleep with an epiphany: I’ve been sleeping through my life and now it’s time to get out in the sunshine! This empowering rock song will put anyone in a good mood.
Pocketful of Sunshine (2008). Natasha Bedingfield’s music is more than just a backdrop for MTV’s The Hills. This pop-infused song was a big hit for Bedingfield in 2008 and was used in some ABC TV promotional commercials as well. As for the sunny day factor, let’s face it, it doesn’t get much sunnier than saying you have some in your pockets.
Sunny Days (2003). Christian rock band Jars of Clay released this single from their album Who We Are Instead back in 2003 and it instantly exuded hope for brighter days ahead. Listen to these lyrics and you won’t have a care in the world.
Sunshine (1974). If you only remember the band Nazareth from their 1975 tearjerker ballad Love Hurts, think again. Before Love Hurts, the band recorded this sunshiny song about love and commitment. Hmmm…. come to think of it, maybe this song led to Love Hurts.
You Are the Sunshine of My Life (1972). Stevie Wonder’s classic is the ultimate love ballad, and you can’t help but feel happy when it comes on the radio- even if you don’t have anyone to sing it to. Corny? Maybe. Sunshiny? Definitely.
Sun Is Shining (1977). Bob Marley’s reggae spin on the sunshine theme heeds the all-important reminder that even though the sun is shining, somewhere people are suffering. Because even on the sunniest of days we all need to be humbled once in a while.