Not So Sunny Forecast For Shawn Colvin

Sunny came home with a vengeance in this week's GRAMMY winners edition of Forgotten Videos
  • Shawn Colvin in "Sunny Came Home"
January 05, 2012 -- 7:00 am PST
GRAMMY.com

Welcome to Forgotten Videos, GRAMMY winners edition. For some, these videos are forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Our aim is to take you on a little trip down memory lane or help you discover new music, GRAMMY style.

Shawn Colvin
"Sunny Came Home"
1997

One thing seems clear in this vaguely told story of Sunny. It seems Sunny wasn't so sunny. After all, we're told Sunny came home with a vengeance, and Sunny apparently sets fire to her once happy home. And we're told this is a woman about to fly out of her mind. Sunny is downright cloudy with a 70 percent chance of going postal.

Images of fire and melting film projected over singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin in this video complete the picture of a woman who is, depending on your interpretation, figuratively scorching the memories of her failed relationship, or literally burning down her home, presumably with her former spouse inside.

How did this former polite Best Contemporary Folk Recording GRAMMY winner turn so decidedly stormy?

Well, for one, A Few Small Repairs — the album that features "Sunny Came Home," a GRAMMY winner for both Record and Song Of The Year in 1997 — followed closely on the heels of Colvin's divorce, and the album is a song cycle about the relationship's still-healing scars.

"Sunny …" was one of the album's angrier responses, but it's dressed with a catchy hook and tasteful arrangement — courtesy of the talented helping hand of songwriter/producer John Leventhal — that belied the arsonist intent and ultimately won the song wide appeal.

It hit No. 1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart and No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, and when it swept the GRAMMYs' two top single-song awards, the album eventually became Colvin's only platinum album to date.

Colvin emerged from Vermillion, S.D., as part of the late '80s new folk movement. Her first big break came singing backup on Suzanne Vega's 1987 hit "Luka." She scored an immediate hit on her own and a GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Folk Recording for "Steady On" from her 1989 debut album of the same name. Three more GRAMMY nominations would follow from her albums Fat City (1992) and Cover Girl (1994), but it was the Best Pop Album-nominated A Few Small Repairs that brought her to a mass audience.


Sunny, or at least Colvin, seemed a far less angry woman when 'Ol Dirty Bastard of Wu Tang Clan bum-rushed the stage when she was accepting her Song Of The Year GRAMMY for "Sunny Came Home," and Colvin hasn't hit equal commercial heights since this hit. Maybe she hasn't been angry enough, or perhaps she's made a deliberate turn away from commercial success. What else can one say when an artist follows up their biggest hit with an album of Christmas songs and lullabies (featuring CD illustrations by author and illustrator Maurice Sendak) and doesn't release a true follow-up studio album for nearly five years? Only two things: She truly wanted to make music on her own terms or, she truly went postal. …

Does this song make you sunny? Got any Forgotten Video recommendations? Leave us a comment.

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