There’s something special about Sunday mornings. That’s the way it is. Sunday mornings are for lovers, for sunshine talks, for being nice to the cat. Every other morning we want a kick cause there’s stuff we’ve got to get done. On Sundays, we want kisses. Lots of them. Preferably not from the cat. We want songs that feel like kisses. Songs that let us dream our way into the day. Songs that let us go back to sleep for a while. These are the FM4 kisses.
This is how the initiators – radio host John Megill and music director Marcus Wagner – describe FM4 Sunny Side Up in their own words, and you couldn’t put it more aptly.
Sunny Side Up is a radio show that airs every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Austrian radio station FM4, but there also was an accompanying CD compilation of the same name, which got published around this time of year, beginning from 2001 up until 2015. Both the show and the CD feature a beautifully relaxed mix of downtempo pop, electronic and soul music from all eras. And I was a big fan of it, always in anticipation of the next fall, when the latest issue was released. Year after year they carried me through the cold winter months, brightened my days and warmed my heart. They’ve been with me throughout numerous early workshifts or extensive family breakfasts. And the hot morning shower to wash away a night’s hangover was regularly accompanied with my Sunny Side Ups.
It’s like a warm, comfy blanket and in my humble opinion a more than worthy entry for the first non-soundtrack contribution on this blog.
The official volumes
But why a songs compilation, you might ask?
Well, as so often, it all began when I was looking for high quality covers for my digital music library. Due to the age and relatively limited distribution of this CD series, no covers were available anywhere. The only choice left was to overhaul the official covers myself. I revamped or remade the entire catalogue (#1 to #15) by either scanning in my original copies or tracking down the original source images and remaking the entire cover.
An while doing so, I discovered quite a lot of trivia, which I don’t want to keep from you. For example, the Peugeot on Vol. 1 belonged to radio host John Megill, who provided it especially for the cover shoot. This also explains why there’s no high res version of this photo available. The mountain on Vol. 7 is photoshopped. The leaves on Vol. 13 had a different background in the original photo and the background on Vol. 15 was originally foggy grey and was turned into sky blue especially for the cover.
But remaking the originals of course wasn’t all that I did….
The supplementary covers
During the official run there were some 2-CD issues, with one disc focusing on contemporary tracks and the other one featuring vintage soul and jazz. And at some point I started to split them up into two separate albums in my digital media library. At first I just added a “.1” and “.2” to the official album covers, but it always bothered me to have two different albums with almost identical artwork in my media library. So eventually I had to make my own covers for the secondary albums. I’ve picked all kinds of source images for my custom covers, yet always making sure that it fits the theme of its official counterpart.
The unofficial continuation
After fifteen years of wallowing myself in the vibes of the Sunny Side Ups, the final issue was eventually published by the end of 2015. Following a sustained decline in sales, FM4 finally made the unfortunate but understandable switch to Spotify. But since I’m an old-schooler and such, I didn’t follow their path (I’ve reconciled since, as you can see at the bottom of this blog post). Instead I began to curate my own issues, of course complete with self-designed cover artworks, personalized tracklists and everything. And that’s also the main reason for this blog post.
The Sunny Side Up compilation has always been winter related, so I started to search for winter related keywords to see what the Google image search would spit out. It was quite difficult and time consuming to dig up original images that a) would be iconic enough and b) somehow fit the rest of the series. The end result is a colourful potpourri of cover artworks coming from all sorts of places. And since we’re talking original photographs here, I’ve put in extra effort to either purchase royalty licenses or at least ask for permission from the copyright owner. You can find all photographer credits in the image descriptions, however I would explicitly like to thank Jarek Radimersky and Christophe Brutel for their kind permission to use their photos for free.
Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to make some of the custom covers in this post publicly available, that’s why I had to blur them, sorry about that!
The spin-off compilation
As already mentioned, the Sunny Side Up series is very winter-related. And while compiling songs for my personal editions, I stumbled across a lot of songs that musically fit the series, but thematically had much more summer than winter flair.
So, hypothetically speaking, if there was a parallel universe in which I worked for FM4 radio and in which the Sunny Side Up compilation had gained its well-deserved worldwide fame, then under my wings there would have been a separate spin-off that would have been released in addition to the regular editions. These quite unashamedly titled Sunny Side Up downloads feature all those songs that in one way or another did not fit into the regular issues.
And this is what they would have looked like:
I understand that it may be difficult for some of you to appreciate this post without knowing anything about the music I’m talking about. That’s why I decided to share some of it within this blog post. Feel free to take a listen in the player below or just head over to my Spotify page and jump into any other volume at your own will. Either way, I hope you can enjoy the music just as much as I do. Thank you for your support. Stay healthy!