Jun 05

THE WALKER BROTHERS – “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”

Popular34 comments • 5,069 views

#211, 19th March 1966

“Make It Easy On Yourself” was a selfish sulk from a big little boy, but this gloom is regal, a woe so deep and indulgent that it stops time and blacks the heavens out. Scott’s producers learn how to do Spector properly and their vast velvet bass and piano sounds turn the Wall of Sound into an opulent, tear-soaked pillow. Scott himself gets lyrics which speak to his inner fatalist – “nothing to lose and no more to win” – and sings them with a great quiet tenderness as the storm breaks. The only bum note – redeemed anyhow by the way the chorus thunders in after – is the “Lonely, without you baby” bridge. Too personal, too specific, too small – to admit an object in this song is to lessen its soothing, solipsist power.



  1. 1
    Marcello on 7 Jun 2005 #

    I’m not sure that John Franz and Ivor Raymonde knew how to do the Wall of Sound properly. Scott’s vocal is buried far too deeply in the mix, and the melody topline is actually lost (cf. Brian Wilson’s misproduction of Glen Campbell’s “Guess I’m Dumb” a few months earlier) – so while it’s tempting to view it as the lament of a vanished ghost (that cloak of loneliness belongs so easily in Bergman’s Seventh Seal), the record is neither close nor far enough to feel. Compared to the contained rage/grief/deathwish of “It’s Over” it comes across as slightly jejeune.

    Perhaps I’m still lamenting over the alternative universe which might have opened up had “The Electrician” gone to number one in 1978…

  2. 2
    Andrew Hickey on 7 Jun 2005 #

    “Brian Wilson’s misproduction”?!
    Kill the heretic!
    Guess I’m Dumb is one of *the* great singles of all time.

  3. 3
    Marcello on 7 Jun 2005 #

    It would have been if BW hadn’t buried GC’s vocal beneath the strings and more or less forgot to put a microphone where the trumpet section were sitting!

  4. 4
    Andrew Hickey on 8 Jun 2005 #

    Maybe you should try the Wondermints’ version – essentially the same arrangement, but cleaner, more separated production.
    There’s one of those ‘bootleg’ things the young people of today do floating round the net, where the vocal from Campbell’s version is overlayed on the Wondermints’ backing track, as well…

  5. 5
    Alan Connor on 8 Jun 2005 #

    Time to tip our hats to songwriter Bob Gaudio! If only for “Short Shorts” and Little Shop Of Horrors. And then Bob Crewe had done some work on “Daddy Cool” and “Tallahassee Lassie”. They’ll be reappearing in due course with “Silence Is Golden”, so it’s by no means all good.

    Anyone know if this was originally for the WBs or for Frankie Valli?

    Cover versions include Cher (as produced by Trevor Horn, featured on The X-Files, and subsequently rejigged by Junior Vasquez), Robson & Jerome, Neil Diamond, Los Mustang, Johnny Ventura, Frankie Valli, David Essex, Clarence Clemons & the Red Bank Rockers, Royal Philarmonic Orchestra, Junior Vasquez, Tight Fit, Klaus Wunderlich and all-round entertainer Freddie Starr.

  6. 6
    Marcello on 9 Jun 2005 #

    The Four Seasons one was the original.

  7. 7
    Andrew Hickey on 11 Jun 2005 #

    Actually just listening now to a stereo fanmix of Guess I’m Dumb which fixes pretty much everything you’re complaining about there – trumpets and lead vocal are way above everything else.

  8. 8
    Mark Gamon on 23 Jun 2005 #

    10.5 (from a Nancy Sinatra base)

  9. 9
    bramble on 8 Sep 2006 #

    Can anyone tell me what the point of Gary Leeds was? He didnt play on record and rumour has it that on live dates another drummer was sat behind the stage curtains drumming.Maybe it was they appeared like a real group rather than a duo a la Righteous Brothers

  10. 10
    clarisse spader on 2 Jan 2007 #

    i disagree. i loved ivor raymonde’s arrangements for this, for dusty and helen shapiro..

  11. 11
    Marcello Carlin on 3 Jan 2007 #

    his son has also done pretty well for himself, it has to be said.

    (before you ask: simon raymonde out of the cocteau twins, this mortal coil etc.)

  12. 12
    Pete Baran on 3 Jan 2007 #

    So contrary to the song: his son still shines then!

  13. 13
    Lena on 5 Jan 2007 #

    Oh, it’s a killer!

    “The Electrician” is a great song (I am amazed to know it was a single) and the idea of it even getting into the top ten, let alone #1, is blowing my mind.

    Is the Four Seasons version good? I’ve never heard it.

  14. 14
    Lee Lenox on 23 Jan 2007 #

    Hey, didn’t a band called The Fuzzy Bunnies do a long guitar ladened version of The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore? It was probably about a year after the Walker Brothers had their hit with it. I remember it when into a key change at the end of the vocal portion of the song, then played out as a lead guitar / orchestral romp. I think the Fuzzy Bunnies were from upstate New York, so it may have only have been a regional thing, but if you heard that version of the song you wouldn’t have forgotten it.

  15. 15
    Caledonianne on 14 Jul 2007 #

    Not to mention the leads hamming it up with aplomb in the movie “Truly, Madly, Deeply”.

  16. 16
    mrblurge on 26 Mar 2009 #

    I have that 45 of The Fuzzy Bunnies doing “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore?” This is the first time I’ve seen anyone else acknowledge this exists. It was a very cool recording.

  17. 17
    benrec on 9 Apr 2009 #

    Hi there,

    Fuzzy Bunnies single “The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore” was issued in Holland with picture sleeve.
    B-side was; Lemons&Limes. Brunswick O 55 015
    I’ve got the single.

  18. 18
    The Intl on 10 Apr 2009 #

    Great single. Wall’o’sound on this one sounds just fine, Don’t worry about it.

  19. 19
    wichita lineman on 10 Apr 2009 #

    Re 9: Gary Walker’s major pop contribution was his album with the Rain, a British group he handpicked from ex-Merseybeat players: nothing like the Walker Bros, it was bonecrunching power pop, and only came out in Japan to ensure its obscurity. Worse, they decided to call it Number One Album which sealed its fate, really. It’s getting its first UK release in June. Yes, GW drums on it.

    It’s odd that the Four Seasons never had a number one in the sixties yet three of their singles made it for other people: this (WB is far richer and darker than Frankie Valli’s take), Silence Is Golden (Tremeloes arrangement almost identical to the 4S), and Bye Bye Baby, with its lyric that demands be a sung by a besuited man from Newark rather than a cute kid from Coatbridge.

  20. 20
    aeonje on 10 Jul 2010 #

    I don’t think I’ve heard the Fuzzy Bunnies “The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore” in over 40 years (I can’t beleive I just said that!). I saw them at the Aerodrome in Schenectady, NY in 1968. If anyone has it in mp3 format – I’d love to hear it again.

  21. 21
    Lena on 16 Aug 2011 #

    Meanwhile, in Manchester…http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.com/2011/08/chivalrous-shout-hollies-i-can't-let-go.html Thanks for reading everyone!

  22. 22
    Billy Smart on 3 Dec 2011 #

    TOTPWatch: The Walker Brothers thrice performed The Sun Ain’t Going To Shine Anymore on Top Of The Pops;

    24 February 1966. Also in the studio that week were; Eddy Arnold, Stevie Wonder, The Hollies, The Mindbenders and The Small Faces, plus The Go Jo’s interpretation of ‘Barabara Ann’. Pete Murray was the host.

    3 March 1966. Also in the studio that week were; The Animals, The Shadows and Tom Jones. Jimmy Savile was the host.

    17 March 1966. Also in the studio that week were; Bob Lind, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Titch and Hermans Hermits, plus The Go Jo’s interpretation of ‘Blue River’. David Jacobs was the host.

    None of these editions survive.

  23. 23
    lonepilgrim on 25 Jul 2012 #

    Meanwhile in the USA another set of ‘brothers’ went to Number 1 with
    this familiar/unfamiliar tune.

  24. 24
    hectorthebat on 22 Apr 2014 #

    Critic watch:

    1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010)
    Blender (USA) – The 1001 Greatest Songs to Download Right Now! (2003)
    Pitchfork (USA) – Top 200 Songs of the 60s (2006) 187
    Guinness Book of Hits of the ’60s (UK, 1984) – Mike Read’s Top 10 Songs
    New Musical Express (UK) – The Top 150 Singles of All Time (1987) 111
    Q (UK) – The 1001 Best Songs Ever (2003) 297
    Q (UK) – The 1010 Songs You Must Own (2004)
    Berlin Media (Germany) – The 100 Best Singles of All Time (1998) 62
    Rolling Stone (Germany) – The Best Singles of 5 Decades (1997)
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009)

  25. 25
    swanstep on 5 Jul 2014 #

    According to this link Scott Walker is collaborating with Sunn O))) on an album to be released later this year. Whether the Sunn 0))) ain’t gonna shine anymore remains to be seen.

  26. 26
    enitharmon on 12 Sep 2014 #

    Tributes to Bob Crewe all over the place but I believe this is the actual first appearance in Popular for Bob, who co-wrote the song with Bob Gaudio.

  27. 27
    HAVANAGILA on 20 Mar 2015 #

    Exactly 49 years and 1 day after “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” hits the UK no. 1, the UK experiences a solar eclipse – COINCIDENCE??!?

  28. 28
    lonepilgrim on 4 Sep 2015 #

    the opening horns and percussion sound vaguely Spanish/Mexican to me – there’s definitely a Roy Orbison vibe to this. The vocals are fairly committed and blend well but I don’t find the song that compelling.

  29. 29
    Paulito on 25 Mar 2019 #

    2019 is starting to look as cruel a year as 2016 was for taking our musical icons from us. RIP Scott.

  30. 30
    enitharmon on 27 Mar 2019 #

    I’m no spring chicken myself these days (heavens, I was a sprightly 48 when this project started and now I’m an increasingly arthritic 64) and my teenage and pre-teen idols were mostly quite a bit older than me so it’s not really surprising that they are dying off now. It is achingly sad though to see the passing of an era.

    Scott has been with me all my life really, growing up with me and always being there going more and more intriguingly off-piste as we grew older together. It’s his interpretations of Jacques Brel that stay with me most.

  31. 31
    23 Daves on 2 Apr 2019 #

    An observation of mine which is likely to infuriate some Scott Walker fans, particularly the kind of fan who thinks he went too weird from “Nite Flights” onwards (and especially at the moment): A lot of The Walker Brothers recordings really weren’t that great. True, some were unquestionably amazing, but taken as a whole the group’s output is patchy. For every astonishing single there are (at least) five or six slightly limp album tracks in the bag. My case for the prosecution has always been the group’s version of “Living Above Your Head”, a song which should have been a total shoe-in for the group’s sound and Scott’s voice reduced to a rather moderate-paced, limp, unswinging stodge (compare it to the Jay and The Americans version to hear how it should be done – I sometimes get aggravated trying to imagine what could have been recorded if the Walkers had approached it in a slightly different way).

    “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” is mindblowingly good, though, for all the reasons outlined above. So great that barely anyone notices “After The Lights Go Out” on the B-side, a lovely, brooding, kitchen sink love song which combines the drama of heartbreak with the minutia of daily bedsit or apartment life (“Gotta get up on my feet/ I need a cup of coffee anyway…”/ “Any second now the lamp down the street will show its light”). It’s stronger than a lot of other Walker Brothers A-sides, and it’s surprising it got buried so easily, especially given the uneven nature of a lot of their LPs.

    The result is that this is usually the 45 I think of first on the rare occasions people bring up the topic of great singles with great but less well-known flip sides. Generally though, Scott’s solo material is where most of the gold lies for me.

  32. 32
    Kris on 15 May 2020 #


    As a recent-ish convert to Scott Walker I have to say that there’s a even a lot of material on the solo Scott albums that don’t match up to the rest. I think you could probably make a compilation of ~15 songs from across Scott 1-4 and ‘Til the Band Comes In and capture all the really good stuff (my controversial opinion: none of the Brel covers make it).

  33. 33
    Kris on 16 Jun 2020 #

    EBWOP: I realise I’ve just described ‘Fire Escape in the Sky’.

  34. 34
    Gareth Parker on 8 Jun 2021 #

    A special single for me. A nailed on 10/10 in my view.

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