"Sunny Afternoon" is a song by The Kinks, written by chief songwriter Ray Davies. Like its contemporary "Taxman" by The Beatles, the song references the high levels of progressive tax taken by the British Labour government of Harold Wilson. The track later featured on the Face to Face album as well as being the title track for their 1967 compilation album. Its strong Music Hall flavour and lyrical focus was part of a stylistic departure for the band (begun with 1965's "A Well Respected Man"), which had risen to fame in 1964-65 with a series of hard-driving, power-chord rock hits.
Released as a single on 3 June 1966, it went to No. 1 on the UK singles charts on 7 July 1966, remaining there for two weeks. The track also went to No. 1 in Ireland on 18 July 1966. In America, it peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart early autumn 1966. "Sunny Afternoon" was placed at No. 200 on Pitchfork Media's list of The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s.
The promotional video for the single featured the band performing in a cold, snowy environment.
The song has been covered by performers including The Standells on their 1967 album "The Hot Ones!," Jimmy Buffett on his Fruitcakes album (1994), Arjen Anthony Lucassen on hisStrange Hobby (1997), the Stereophonics on the DVD Live at Morfa Stadium (1999), former Space singer Tommy Scott, in a duet with Tom Jones, on Jones' Reload album (1999), Bob Geldof, included on the four-CD compilation, Great Songs of Indifference (2005) and The Cat Empire performed the song for Triple J's "Like A Version" Series in 2009. Take That also used the backing music on the track "Kidz" from their 2010 album Progress.