The Songs of Summer #97: ‘Sunshine Girl’ by The Parade
Another Monday….oof. A hazy, foggy morning here in Michiganland, with promises of a warmer, sunnier afternoon. The kind of a morning that calls for some sunshine pop. Is there a happier, more optimistic-sounding musical genre than sunshine pop? Bubblegum pop, maybe, but I’m a sucker for this thing called sunshine pop, and its summery, harmony-rich sound and unforgettable poppy hooks. And I’m not embarrassed to admit it! Not familiar with sunshine pop? Do you like the Mamas and the Papas? You do? Then you probably like sunshine pop. That knower of all things Wikipedia categorizes it as ” cheerful and upbeat music which is characterized by warm sounds, prominent vocal harmonies, and sophisticated productions.” ‘Sunshine Girl‘ by The Parade was an incredibly minor hit in 1967, at the absolute height of this lightweight but not insubstantial musical genre.
Sadly, ‘Sunshine Girl,’ or any of The Parade’s other songs, never really went anywhere on the pop charts which is a real shame. Bigger groups like The Buckinghams, The Association, The Cowsills and Harper’s Bizarre captured most of the attention, but there is an entire sunshine pop underground filled with bands like The Parade with catalogs full of ridiculously great sunshine pop that went largely unheard by the larger public. And that’s too bad, because so much of it is simply glorious, and offers a real time capsule back to this rich period in musical history…Why do some groups have huge success, while other equally (or more) talented groups wallow in obscurity? Groups like The Parade. Or The Free Design. Or The Peppermint Trolley Company. The Sugar Shoppe.The Collage. The New Wave…and on and on and on. (I’ve got to give a shout-out to Now Sounds, an incredibly cool little record label founded and run by Steve Stanley that’s dedicated to unearthing many of these lost gems and giving them a proper introduction to new generations of fans of great pop music. Check them out.)
The Parade’s ‘Sunshine Girl‘ is perhaps the perfect example of the ideal sunshine pop tune. It barely cracked the Top 20 charts in 1967, and the band never got back there again. It’s amazing to dig for, and discover, the nearly limitless music that’s out there that never got the popular credit it deserved. It’s even more amazing to share it with people (even if it’s just a few individuals.) Their entire catalog is available, and their music has never failed to brighten my day.
I think Sunshine Girl is a perfect song for a late summer day like today….Do you agree?