Johnny Sunshine

Album: Exile In Guyville (1993)

Songfacts®:

  • Indie rocker Liz Phair's debut album is a song-by-song response to the Rolling Stones' 1972 album, Exile On Main St. In this tune, Johnny abandons the narrator after killing her cat and stealing everything she owns. To add insult to injury, he splits town in her favorite car. "This was the Rolling Stones' 'All Down The Line' in my saga," Phair told Rolling Stone in 2018. "They've just been in their disagreement moment and now the guy is checking out and hitting the road. He's going back out on tour. I liken 'Johnny Sunshine' to investing all this stuff in this relationship and then you're just taking off. It's that feeling of abandonment that you feel when you're like, 'Fine! Go! I don't care.' Then, of course, you break into the truth of it, which is that she's devastated."
  • Brad Wood, who produced Exile In Guyville, also played several instruments on the album. On this tune, he played the drums. "This is one of my favorite examples of Brad's drumming," Phair said. "He just has a way. It's a continuing loop, but he makes it, he breaks it up, and he adds, again. I think you can hear his jazz flavor in it. There's that great separate vocal that I'm doing. It reminds me of the songs I learned at summer camp when I was young when one of the part of the cabin would sing one part of the song, the other one would do the counter melody."

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