Let The Sun Shine In or Let The Sunshine In

Okay, as a newcomer to the blog, I assume this may have been discussed in the past, but last night this issue bugged me again, and I decided what better place to come for a definitive answer than here!Â

Last night at Fullerton, I was wearing my 2002 Santa Cruz Hair teeshirt (tie-dyed in blue with our logo which is just one head and the subtitle Let The Sun Shine In! Someone (a stranger) came up to me, admired my shirt, but said, “Didn’t you spell it wrong? Isn’t it supposed to be Let The Sunshine In?” Well, honestly, last night I wasn’t sure! Moreover, the Fullerton program didn’t help one iota, because of some typographical error, they listed all the songs from the show (including Good Morning Starshine and The Bed, which they dropped from the show!) BUT not The Flesh Failures! Weird!

So this morning, I did a little exploration and here is what I found:

The title of the song, in both the script (1995 Tams-Witmark version) and the piano-conductor score, use the TITLE “The Flesh Failures (Let The Sun Shine In)”. However, the words in the song in both the script and the score, use “sun-shine” hyphenated, which is the typical song-writing shorthand for indicating syllables in one word assigned to two different notes. Thus the title and the lyrics differ. The vocal parts book copies the script/score title, but uses “sun…shine” which is unusal. More interestingly, in the Bass part and Guitar parts, the TITLE is Let The Sunshine In.Â

One the recordings, the title is usually Let The Sunshine In (both OBC and movie). I have others I will check at home. I haven’t had a chance to look at the book.

So, the ultimate question… which is it, “sunshine” or “sun shine”, or, in the scope of global warming, destructive politicians, out-of-control military, etc., does it really matter 🙂

Inquiring minds would love to hear from you!


Jon “bleurose” Rosen
Stagelight ProdutionsÂ



This entry was posted on Saturday, March 10th, 2007 at 1:05 PM and filed under Uncategorized. Follow comments here with the RSS 2.0 feed. Skip to the end and leave a response. Trackbacks are closed.

8 Responses to “Let The Sun Shine In or Let The Sunshine In”

  1. phonic said:

    For what it’s worth, in the original United Artists songbook the title is “The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In)” … one word.

  2. Doris said:

    Interesting question of semantics. In the phrasing of the way the song is sung, I’ve always heard it (lo these 3 plus decades)as “shine” being an imperative verb form, esp. as the phrase “let the sun shine” is repeated multiple times without the preposition “in,” and then the “in” is finally added for emphasis as to where it should shine. Hmm, better not to belabor it too much… Perhaps it doesn’t really matter either way.

  3. bleurose said:

    LOL, yes, that is sort of what I was suggesting, that it probably doesn’t matter all that much 😉 On the other hand, your explanation is a really cogent one. You are correct to notice that the chorus has three distinct lines:

    Let the sun shine
    Let the sun shine in
    The sun shine in

    The first two, when written that way, are declarative sentences by themselves, where as:

    Let the sunshine
    Let the sunshine in
    The sunshine in

    Isn’t nearly as clear or definitive.

    My wife Barbara (who will be producing and costuming our production in San Jose too!) pointed out tonight that there is a subtle difference in meaning of “Let the sun shine in” vs. “Let the sunshine in”. The first connotes letting the sun (a powerful object) shine its light into something (such as the world). The second connotes letting sunshine (a kind of fluffy substance) drift in through a window. The former is clearly more in the spirit of Hair.

    But as you say, it really doesn’t matter much at all 😉

  4. Doris said:

    Jon, I agree with your wife as to the subtle difference- the act of the sun (powerful archetype) shining in to illuminate, to cleanse, to create, to expose, to fire up, being much more evocative than the “Hallmark” notion of sunshine/rainbows/bunnies making everything sanitized and “nice”. We’re laughing about the silliness of this analysis because, no doubt, when Gerry & Jim wrote it, they weren’t thinking about such distinctions; they were just going with the flow of the muse!

  5. Mike Blaxill said:

    Ha Ha! this is cool. My theory/2cents – If the vocals in the book say “sun…shine” (or similarly sun-shine) than that definitely means it’s two words. I’ve heard Jim Rado say during a panel that he likes to use ellipses, the distinction is intentional… so I’d put my money on that. Anything other than the book (including guitar and bass parts which Galt or one of the original band members/arrangers probably wrote) is not straight from Jim or Gerry’s pen and was probably keyed in by someone else (like an intern @ RCA records?). Thanks for starting this topic! – a small detail but an important one … imho

  6. barbara siomos said:

    I like what your wife Barbara felt and said… Nice. 🙂

  7. bleurose said:

    BTW, I checked the book. This is thePocket Book published version of the script circa 1969 (which is a weird cross between the off-broadway show and the broadway show, I imagine this has been pointed out before but I expect that this version of the show has never actually been performed anywhere 😉

    And I realized, duh, this version of the script doesn’t even have The Flesh Failures (Let The Sun Shine In) as a song at all! It ends with the Exanaplanetooch/Climax/Sentimental Ending ending 😉 So it is mute on this question.

  8. galenfott said:

    I’ve wondered exactly this myself. One can find justification for either variation in “official” printed media, although I think there’s a preponderance of evidence for “Sun Shine”. That’s how it appeared in the original Broadway program, and how it appears on the Tams Witmark website.

    Ultimately, I think a song is what is SUNG, more than how the title might appear in one place or the other. And on the original Broadway cast album (which of course features both lyricists), there is a very clear breath, repeatedly, between the two words as follows:

    Let the sun shine
    Let the sun shine in
    The sun (breath) shine in

    As others have noted, there is an important difference in meaning between “let the sunshine in” and “let the sun shine in”. I think the latter is clearly correct.

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