Some hits arrive at the top of the charts like the last link in a chain reaction. ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’ was written by Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons with the group’s producer Bob Crewe. They intended it for the Righteous Brothers, but it never reached them because Four Seasons frontman Frankie Valli heard it when he was passing Crewe’s office, and claimed it for himself. It was released as a single, and as a spinoff from the Seasons’ massive success, in Valli’s name in 1965.
Strangely, for all of the group’s momentum, Frankie’s version of the epic ballad failed to make the national US charts. Gaudio takes up the story: “We never did send it to the Righteous Brothers,” he said, “and I’m sorry that Frankie’s version didn’t become a major success. It was top five in a number of local markets, Boston, Hartford, Philadelphia, but we suspected that the record company didn’t want it to become a success because they were afraid that Frankie might leave the group.”
As was often the case in those days, that left the field open for a well-made, if opportunistic, cover. “Lo and behold,” said Gaudio, “eight months later and on the same label, Smash Records in the US, the Walker Brothers released it with a similar arrangement, but a faster tempo, and that was No. 1 in England. I thought it was fabulous, but I preferred it at our tempo.”
The Walker Brothers’ version, their follow-up to the 1965 hit ‘My Ship Is Coming In,” was produced by Johnny Franz and Ivor Raymonde. In March 1966, in only its third chart week in the UK, it replaced Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin’’ at No. 1. Gaudio and Crewe’s disappointment that Valli’s version didn’t make the grade was tempered by the fact that it stayed there for four weeks, also reaching No. 13 in the US.
‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore’ is on No Regrets — The Best of Scott Walker and the Walker Brothers 1965-1976, which can be bought here.
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