“You Are My Sunshine” is a song first recorded in 1939. The song was chosen as one of Louisiana’s state anthem because it was associated with former state governor and country music star Jimmy Davis. Two versions of “You Are my Sunshine” were recorded and released before they were first performed by Jimmy Davis.
The first recording by the Atlanta natives, The Pine Ridge Boys was made on August 22, 1939 by Bluebird Records. The second recording by The Rice Brothers Gang was made by Decca Records on September 13, 1939. This group was from northern Georgia, but its members moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, where they worked at the city’s radio station. Jimmy Davis’ version of the song was recorded by Decca Records on February 5, 1940.
Jimmy Davis and Charles Mitchell are officially credited as the songwriters of “You Are My Sunshine”. Davies purchased the song and the rights to it from Paul Rice and put his name on the songwriter, a rather unusual practice in pre-war times. Some early versions of this song, however, are labeled as songs written by the Rice brothers. It is also believed that clarinetist Pad Brown was also involved in writing or first arranging this song.