Words: Dorothy Fields; Music: Jimmy McHugh (1930)

Lyrics

Grab your coat and get your hat,
Leave your worries on the doorstep –
Just direct your feet
To the sunny side of the street.

Can’t you hear the pitter-pat,
And that happy tune in your step?
Life can be so sweet
On the sunny side of the street.

I used to walk in the shade
With those blues on parade,
But I’m not afraid –
This rover crossed over.

If I never had a cent
I’d be as rich as Rockefeller,
Gold dust at my feet
On the sunny side of the street.

Background

“On the Sunny Side of the Street” is a song about focusing on the good things in life. This was a potent message considering that the stock market had crashed only six months beforehand, beginning the Great Depression. The song was introduced in Lew Leslie’s International Revue at the Majestic Theater in New York City. The show ran for ninety-five performances and, although a flop, it will long be remembered for producing the two hits, “On the Sunny Side of the Street” and “Exactly Like You,” both of which became jazz standards.

Performances

Here is one of Sinatra’s performances of the song:

Here is a recording by the great Peggy Lee, with the Benny Goodman Orchestra. The vocals start one minute into the track:

And here is the Sing-A-long version for listening to and downloading:

On the Sunny Side of the Street