From the Studio #24

On the Sunny Side of the Street

This is a real standard tune. Louis Armstrong’s different versions have given the song depth, and another favorite is Lionel Hampton’s 1939 recording with the opening chorus by Johnny Hodges on alto sax.

Its composer is Jimmy McHugh, and the lyrics were written by Dorothy Fields. The year was 1930, when the Big Depression took effect in the US, and the tune is clearly affected by that with its message that everything is ok if you just cross the street.

But I can’t help thinking of Edward Hopper, the artist about whom it was said something like: “He painted off the people who wanted to walk on the sunny side of the street, but only got a little ray of sunshine in their lives.”

Grab your coat and get your hat,
Leave your worry on the doorstep,
Just direct your feet,
To the sunny side of the street.

Can’t you hear a pitter pat?
And that happy tune is your step,
Life can be so sweet,
On the sunny side of the street.

I used to walk in the shade,
With those blues on parade,
But I’m not afraid,
This Rover crossed over,

If I never have a cent,
I’ll be rich as Rockefeller,
Gold dust at my feet,
On the sunny side of the street.