We'll Sing in the Sunshine by Gale Garnett.
Another near-perfect if delightfully cool afternoon here in the boonies of the Chicago metroplex. On my daily stroll I found myself singing an old song that I fell in love with back in 1964 when I was a nerdy Cheyenne teenager—We’ll Sing in the Sunshine by Gale Garnett. It was a big hit that summer but both the song and singer seem to have faded from popular memory.
Gale Zoë Garnett was a 22 year old Canadian singer when she broke out with her own original song. What made the song so memorable, besides the catchy hook were the lyrics which stood a traditional male love ‘em and leave ‘em trope on its head. Medieval bards and Childe Ballads through American folk music, blues, and pop to rock and soul were all filled with charmingly roguish and romantic foot-loose roamers who dally with comely lasses and move on with just a twinge of regret because, well, that’s just the kind of man they were. Sometimes, just sometimes, a line or two might consider the girl heartbroken and/or ruined as an afterthought.
Garnett’s song about a girl promising only to dally with lad before she will “be on my way” turned the tables. It was a directed product of the post-Pill Sexual Revolution of the mid-‘60’s and she was in her mini-skirts and long black hair was the perfect messenger.
Garnett was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and moved to Canada with her family when she was 11. She made her public singing debut in 1960, while at the same time pursuing an acting career, making guest appearances on TV shows like 77 Sunset Strip. She made her New York nightclub debut in 1963 and was signed by RCA Victor Records that same year. The next year RCA released her debut album My Kind of Folk Songs and We’ll Sing in the Sunshine was the run-away hit off of the LP.
|A re-issue of Garnett's first album more prominantly featured the title of her big hit.
The song hit #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, #2 in Canada, #1 on the Adult Contemporary singles chart for seven weeks, and a Top 50 Country hit. The record waltzed away with the Grammy for Best Folk Recording.
Garnett never matched that success again although she did continue to record with more success in Canada than south of the border. In the late ‘60’s she made a leap to psychedelic folk rock her new band The Gentle Reign. She has continued to act, most notably voicing the character Sharon in the 1967 Rankin-Bass animated TV special Monster Mash Party and as Aunt Lexy in the 2002 sleeper hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
|Garnett was a perfect '60's groovy chick with big talent.
On stage she starred in a Canadian production of Hair and in 1975, co-wrote with Tom O’Horgan the music for Starfollowers in an Ancient Land, an Off-Off Broadway production at the La MaMa Experimental Theater Club in New York City’s East Village in addition to appearing in the play. She also wrote and performed two one-person theater pieces, Gale Garnett & Company and Life After Latex.
Garnett has turned increasingly to writing in recent years branched out into journalism, writing essays, columns, and book reviews for various newspapers and magazines. She published her first novel, a romance, Visible Amazement in 1999. She followed with Transient Dancing in 2003, the novella Room Tone in 2007, and her latest release Savage Adoration in 2009.
She is still alive, well, and active at age 77.