This song first appeared on John Denver's 1971 album Poems, Prayers & Promises
. Denver was a struggling singer/songwriter at the time who was enjoying his first solo hit "Take Me Home Country Roads
," which was released a few months before the album and was climbing the charts. Over the next few years, Denver found an audience with his heartwarming, spiritual songs that dealt with finding pleasure in the simple things. "Sunshine" was revived in 1973 when it was used as the B-side of Denver's single "I'd Rather Be a Cowboy," which reached #62 in the US. Later that year, "Sunshine On My Shoulders" was issued as an A-side single, and for a week in late March/early April 1974, it was the #1 song in America. Seems the United States was in a kinder, happier mood at the time, as the next #1 was "Hooked On A Feeling
" by Blue Swede.