Bobby Hebb has died. He’s best-known for the 1966 pop hit “Sunny,” one of the most popular songs of all time, covered by Frank Sinatra, James Brown and Ella Fitzgerald among the hundreds of other artists.
According to Nashville newspaper The Tennessean, he died Tuesday at 10:50 a.m. at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville. He was 72.
Hebb wrote “Sunny” in response his brother’s murder outside a Nashville nightclub and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy a few days previously. “Sunny” was so popular that he toured with The Beatles. He told The Tennessean in 2004, “John [Lennon] and George [Harrison] were very quiet. But Ringo and Paul were more active and easier to get to know. It was just something to be with those cats.”
Hebb also penned “A Natural Man,” which won a Grammy award for Lou Rawls. Hebb started his music career playing trumpet in the Navy. He later played and danced with Roy Acuff’s Smoky Mountain Boys and was one of the first black musicians to play at the Grand Ole Opry.
Bobby Hebb is survived by his daughter, Kitoto Von Hebb, and four sisters, Helen Hebb-McCray, Ednaearle Burney, Shirley Trotter and Cleevette Davidson. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.