The cast

Oral histories




Look up Sunny in the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles and you'll find one entry for the song 'Doctor's Orders'. Which just goes to show what they know about pop music. In fact the first hit to feature her distinctive and wonderful voice was Joe Cocker's version of 'With A Little Help From My Friends', and the prominence given to her backing vocals on that record pretty much set her up as the singer you wanted behind you if you needed some class.

Prior even to Cocker, Sunny and her sister Sue had been making records together under a variety of names (The Myrtelles, Sue & Sunshine, The Stockingtops) since 1963, and they continued to work as a team right through the period covered by Glitter Suits & Platform Boots, releasing their own records as Sue & Sunny. As far as I know this stuff hasn't been reissued on CD (yet), but it's worth searching out if you like a bit of soul in your pop, particularly the single 'Let Us Break Bread Together'. And as session singers, they turn up on more of the records in your collection than you ever dreamed possible.

Also, it must be said, more than even Sunny can remember - her performances on classics like T Rex's '20th Century Boy' and Mott the Hoople's 'Golden Age of Rock & Roll' have been subsumed into the general blur experienced by all sessioners of the era. 'There was so much work in those days, you never stopped. It was like ten till one, two till five, seven till ten and then after twelve o'clock. I'm not going to over-exaggerate, but you could get one day when there were four sessions a day.'

Like her male counterpart, Tony Burrows, Sunny was a favourite of the songwriter/producers who dominated the early 70s. She sang with Burrows in The Brotherhood of Man and Edison Lighthouse, she was a member of the original Pearls and provided backing vocals on Guys & Dolls 'There's A Whole Lot Of Loving'. She also worked with Giorgio Moroder when he was inventing electro-disco with Donna Summer. And then, of course, there was that one hit under her name in collaboration with Roger Greenaway.

Which makes you wonder: why didn't she pursue a solo career? After all she was one of, if not the, most respected and celebrated women singers within the industry. It would seem to be but a short step to mass acceptance. But, apart from the sheer pressures of session-work, maybe the respect of her peers was part of the reason: 'We were wanted by everybody. We didn't have time to think about solo careers, there was just so much to do. And being respected as the vocal backing on "With A Little Help From My Friends", we were always in the limelight. And I think's why the solo career - the actual going out saying: I want to make it on my own and make loads of money as Sunny - I think that's why it wasn't as important, because we were so much in the limelight. Everybody knew me. I didn't have to prove anything."

As the demand for session-work slowed down towards the end of the 70s, Sunny moved into TV, providing backing vocals on variety shows, and - like Burrows - worked with James Last. Today she's still singing, still has a fantastic voice and still works on a regular basis with Chris Rae. And she's still a completely unique individual - if your image of session-musicians is one of faceless and soulless automatons, then you haven't met Sunny.

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Eddie Amoo
Ken Andrew
Dave Bartram
Mike Batt
Wayne Bickerton
David Blaylock
Trevor Bolder
Jacko Boogie
Tony Burrows
Sally Carr
Tina Charles
David Courtney
Rob Davis
Richard Dodd
Patrick Doonan
Ray Dorset
Herbie Flowers
Ken Gold
Graham Gouldman
Dave Hill
Harvey Hinsley
John Hughes
Jim Irvin
Jimmy James
Steve Jones
Lorraine Kelly
Paul Layton
Les McKeown
Russell Mael
Johnny Moore
Mike Moran
Chris Norman
Bill Oddie
David Paton
Lyn Paul
Phil Pickett
Suzi Quatro
Chris Rae
Chris Redburn
Norman Rogerson
Ron Roker
John Rossall
Andy Scott
Eddie Seago
Mat Snow
Chris Spedding
John Springate
Ray Stiles
Alwyn W Turner
David Van Day
Phil Wainman
Johnny Wakelin
Jeff Wayne
Alan Williams
Pip Williams