The Phono Project

Exploring the history of the groove

“You Are My Sunshine” by Jimmie Davis

Like sunshine on a cloudy day, who likes the rain anyway? First recorded in 1939, Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell’s “You Are My Sunshine”, is a very popular classic. This tune was declared a state song, in the state of Louisiana, because of its association with Davis who was the state governor in the early 1900’s. This piece has been covered by many other music artists over the years. In fact, this song is “one of the most commercially programmed numbers in American Music”. Originally “You Are My Sunshine” was written in the country music category, but over time was slowly taken out of it. Prior to Davis’ version of this song, two other versions were released before 1939. Davis was never known to actually claim authorship to the song, but he bought the song and rights from Paul Rice and put his own name on it. This practice is not uncommon in the music business.

The 1940 version written by Davis was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress (March 2013). Davis called this piece his ‘calling card’ as it became a hit selling record, selling millions of copies in America alone. A fun fact about this song is that was declared a favorite of King George, when the song eventually made it across to the other side of the world.

The lyrics to “You Are My Sunshine” are simple, but as most would say while listening ‘pretty’. This song is popular to mothers, who sing to their newborn babies.

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