July 24, 1969 the Beatles recorded “Sun King” for their Abbey Road album. Since we’re in the midst of summer, I though in addition to my recent Summer Songs and Summertime Fun Songs playlists, I’d feature a playlist of Sun songs to enjoy during the summer, or any time of year, if trying to be bright, cheery, or warm up. Songs include those with various iterations of Sun in their title, including Sun, Sunny, Sunshine, Sunrise, Sunset, and Sundown.
The song “Sun King” is, per John Lennon, “a piece of garbage I had around,” and, per Paul McCartney, utter nonsense. Its title is a nod to King Louis XIV, also known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, as the universe revolved around him. His reign of over 72 years is the longest in history for any monarch of a country.
The lyrics borrow a few foreign words strung together in meaningless fashion, along with a Liverpool expression, “chicka ferdi,” that while John says means “ha ha ha,” Paul intimates it means “f*** off.”
A few other Beatles gems are on the list, including the playlist title song “Here Comes The Sun,” “I’ll Follow The Sun,” and “Good Day Sunshine.” Here is a brief snipet of George Harrison along with Pete Ham of Badfinger doing an acoustic version of “Here Comes The Sun” in The Concert for Bangladesh:
MonaLisa Twins, a sister duo group originally from Vienna Austria, now out of Liverpool, known mostly on YouTube for covers of the Beatles and other ‘60s bands, offer their version of the song, with beautiful guitars and lovely harmonies:
And an American roots version including mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and upright bass by the Petersens:
And a fantasic acoustic guitar cover by Gabriella Quevado:
And I have to give Macca his due, after featuring George, with “I’ll Follow The Sun” from his 2005 US Tour:
I had never seen the video to the Police song “Invisible Sun,” their first release off Ghost In The Machine, which ponders people’s ability to find the will to go on living in countries plagued with war, poverty, and strife. This seems particularly relevant for our current world, in particular the Ukraine, though with continued conflict in places such as Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Israel, South Sudan, Madagascar, Ethiopia, and Yemen:
The Animals performance of “The House of the Rising Sun,” recorded in 1964, is vocally and musically superb, their cover arguably the best of the over 600 versions. It was originally recorded in 1933 as a blues song by Clarence Ashley and Gwen Foster, but has never been better than that offered by the Animals:
Though I do love this version by my girl Haley Reinhart, American Idol alum:
And such a different era, the following from the Ed Sullivan Show, Gerry & The Pacemakers “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying”:
And this has to be one of the greater duet concert moments in history, with George Michael and Elton John in 1991 on “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” (viewed over 140 million times on YouTube!):
This song is a nod to my daughter, from a favorite artist of hers, Chris Cornell, with “Black Hole Sun” by his then band Soundgarden:
And here’s a beautiful acoustic version by Chris – so talented, so sad his life cut short:
Another American roots song “Being A Woman (Is Like Being The Sun)” by a new favorite of mine, Caroline Jones, who has toured with Jimmy Buffett and the Zac Brown Band:
A great cover of “You Are My Sunshine” by The Dead South follows:
Ginger Baker, one of the world’s best drummers, paired with Eric Clapton, one of the world’s greatest guitarists, along with Jack Bruce on lead vocals and bass in a Cream reunion performance of “Sunshine of Your Love” at the Royal Albert Hall in 2005 is just spectacular:
MonaLisa Twins do Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman” justice, with some great slide guitar, from the Cavern Club in Liverpool:
And holy 1969 Batman, again a different era, The 5th Dimension with “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In,” like, far out!:
One of my favorite soft rock Canadian artists (along with Bruce Cockburn, Michael Buble, and Celine Dion, with Rush, Bryan Adams, The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Steppenwolf, Triumph, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell,Robbie Robertson/Rick Dank (The Band), Aldo Nova, April Wine, Loverboy, Corey Hart, Men Without Hats, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morissette, Barenaked Ladies, Nickelback, and Justin Bieber all hail from the Great White North), here’s Gordon Lightfoot singing “Sundown”:
Song greats on the playlist include, in addition to the songs above, “Waiting for the Sun,” “Soak Up The Sun,” “Seasons In The Sun,” “Behind The Sun,” “Sunny,” “Sunshine,” “We’ll Sing In The Sunshine,” “Sunshine On My Shoulders,” “Sunday Morning Sunshine,” “Walking On Sunshine,” “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Tequila Sunrise,” “Heart of the Sunrise,” and “Sunset Grill.” Another fun summer playlist:
I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew. Rediscover the passion of music in your life.
Live in the moment.
Enjoy the moment.
Love the sunny moments.
Listen to the MUSIC!