“Walking on Sunshine” is a song written by Kimberley Rew for Katrina and the Waves’ 1983 debut full-length album (also named “Walking on Sunshine”). The beautifully upbeat, love song was sung by Katrina Leskanich. It was re-recorded in 1985 It was the Waves’ band first US top 40 hit, and their biggest success in the UK at the time, until “Love Shine a Light” and definitely their signature song, despite their Eurovision winning hit in 1997. In fact, they are considered a one-hit wonder band, but just because “Walking on Sunshine”, over time and not just at the time of release, outshines any other of their accomplishments, small or large.
The song is about happiness one feels when in love. Originally conceived as a ballad, Katrina Leskanich decided to sing it in a much more upbeat fashion, making the very cheerful and a mood uplifting song as we know it. It has been used as a mood-lifter in many different contests expanding its original success and showing a growing success pattern from their original release, to the international recognition it gets nowadays. The Waves’ vocalist is not part of the band anymore, although she still sings the song. The other members are Kimberley Rew (the songwriter of “Walking on Sunshine”), Vince de la Cruz and Alex Cooper.
ccording to a former employee of EMI, “Walking on Sunshine was the crown jewel in EMI’s catalog,” and that it was one of EMI’s biggest earners from advertisers.
In a 2020 interview, Leskanich said that she believes the song is going to outlive her.
The song was released in Canada in 1983, with little success, then it was re-recorded, and that had great success and it still does.
The song is 3:16 long, the re-recorded version is 4:00.
Katrina and the Waves kept the song’s publishing rights, and the royalties that are typically to the songwriter have been divided among the band members. The royalties from airplay and ads have been very lucrative; as an ex employee of EMI, the song was “the crown jewel in EMI’s catalog,” and it ranked among EMI’s highest earners from advertising having been picked up by many companies for their commercials and other promotional projects. However, in 2015, the song were sold out for £10 million, along with all of the other songs written by Rew and Katrina and the Waves, which is just the Waves now, without Katrina.
This is how “Walking on Sunshine” performed in the charts internationally after release:
- #2 Ireland
- #3 Canada
- #4 Australia
- #8 UK
- #9 US
- #12 Sweden
- #14 Switzerland
- #20 New Zealand
- #23 Poland
The Official Video was shot in London, with the band moving around various locations, including while preparing back stage and performing on stage. At the time of writing, it has just over 70 million views.