You Are My Sunshine: Sing-Along Song Video for Kids

This bright, heartwarming song will remind your kids how much you love them.

You Are My Sunshine

 

    You are my sunshine,
    My only sunshine.
    You make me happy
    When skies are gray.
    You'll never know dear
    How much I love you.
    Please don't take
    My sunshine away.

    "You Are My Sunshine" is popularly known as the state song of Louisiana, but the song has a murky history. It was made popular by Jimmie Davis, a country music singer who used it frequently in his campaign for governor of Louisiana, and it has long been claimed that he and his friend and fellow songwriter Charlie Mitchell wrote the song in 1939.

    In Georgia, however, the children of mandolin player and songwriter Oliver Hood insist that their father penned the song on the back of a brown paper bag and performed it at a VFW convention in LaGrange, Georgia, in 1933. Hood regularly played with fellow musicians Riley Puckett and Paul Rice, and many people claim to have heard Puckett perform the piece in the early 1930s. There were supposedly more than 20 verses to the song, but the most popular ones are all that remain. After the original, best-known verse, the song continues:

    The other night dear,
    As I lay sleeping
    I dreamed I held you in my arms.
    When I awoke, dear,
    I was mistaken
    And I hung my head and cried

    I'll always love you
    And make you happy
    If you will only say the same
    But if you leave me
    To love another
    You'll regret it all some day

    You told me once, dear
    You really loved me
    And no one else could come between
    But now you've left me
    And love another
    You have shattered all my dreams

    Unfortunately, Hood never copyrighted his song, and in 1937 Paul Rice claimed authorship. Rice sold the rights to the song to Charlie Mitchell and Jimmie Davis in late 1939, and Davis recorded the song on February 5, 1940. His version included the lines that catapulted him to the governor's seat and made the song a Louisiana legend, as he sang it at rallies and even performed it on horseback (his horse was aptly named Sunshine):

    Louisiana, my Louisiana
    the place where I was borne.
    White fields of cotton
    green fields clover,
    the best fishing
    and long tall corn

    The authorship of the piece may always be in dispute, but the song's lyrics are now known by children across the nation -- despite the less-than-sunny picture it paints after the first upbeat verse. "You Are My Sunshine" received renewed attention when it was featured prominently on the popular Grammy Award-winning soundtrack to the 2000 movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? The song is typical of what is now called traditional country music, with its predictable rhyming patterns, a repeating chorus, and a hit-and-miss meter that requires words to be dragged out over several notes.

    Copyright © 2012 Meredith Corporation.

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