Music

John Denver Was Trying to Write a Sad Song When He Wrote 'Sunshine On My Shoulders'

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John Denver was one of the most iconic songwriters of the '70s. With Denver's songs like "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Rocky Mountain High," "Sunshine On My Shoulders," "Annie's Song," "Back Home Again" and "Thank God I'm A Country Boy," he climbed his way to the top and reinvented pop and folk-rock.

"Sunshine On My Shoulders" was Denver's first No. 1 hit, reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1974. When writing the song, he was trying to write a sad, melancholic tune. "I was so down I wanted to write a feeling-blue song," he told Seventeen magazine, "[but] this is what came out."

The song was originally released on the 1971 album Poems, Prayers and Promises. It became a chart-topping hit when it was re-released on his John Denver's Greatest Hits album in 1973, which went on to sell over 10 million copies.

"Sunshine on My Shoulders" Lyrics

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high

If I had a day that I could give you
I'd give to you the day just like today
If I had a song that I could sing for you
I'd sing a song to make you feel this way

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost always makes me high

If I had a tale that I could tell you
I'd tell a tale sure to make you smile
If I had a wish that I could wish for you
I'd make a wish for sunshine for all the while

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy
Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely
Sunshine almost all the time makes me high
Sunshine almost always

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John Denver Was Trying to Write a Sad Song When He Wrote 'Sunshine On My Shoulders'