Uncloudy Day

The Staple Singers

About Uncloudy Day

Uncloudy Day, also known as Unclouded Day, is a gospel song written by Josiah Kelley Alwood in 1879. Originally popular in church hymnals, it has come to be recorded many times over the years since, including being an early attention-getter for future star act The Staple Singers in 1956, their version serving as an inspiration to a young Bob Dylan, who called it "the most mysterious thing I'd ever heard".


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They tell me of a home far beyond the skies
And they tell me of a home far away
They tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise
They tell me of an unclouded day

The land of cloudless days
The land of an unclouded sky
They tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise
They tell me of an unclouded day

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The Staple Singers

The Staple Singers were an American gospel, soul, and R&B singing group. Roebuck "Pops" Staples (1914–2000), the patriarch of the family, formed the group with his children Cleotha (b. 1934), Pervis (b. 1935), Yvonne (b. 1936), and Mavis (b. 1939). They are best known for their 1970s hits "I'll Take You There", "Respect Yourself", and "Let's Do It Again". more »

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20 facts about this song

"Uncloudy Day" is an American gospel song traditionally believed to be written by Josiah K. Alwood in 1879, not by Bob Dylan or The Staple Singers.
The song has been widely recorded under variations of its title, including "Unclouded Day" and "The Unclouded Day". It was covered by both Bob Dylan and The Staple Singers during their careers.
Bob Dylan's Version
Bob Dylan has been said to have performed "Uncloudy Day" multiple times live, although there's no official studio recording of his version. The earliest known performance is supposedly from November 4, 1980 in San Francisco, California.
The Staple Singers' Version
"Uncloudy Day" was a significant early hit for the Staple Singers in 1956. The quartet's version of the song has been praised for Pops Staples' "mournful, trembling" guitar work and the "emotion-filled" lead vocal by Mavis Staples.
Song Introduction
"Uncloudy Day" was one of the songs that introduced The Staple Singers and their gospel sound to a broader audience, which laid the groundwork for their later crossover hits in the soul and pop genres.
Song Interpretation
The lyrics of "Uncloudy Day" portray a positive outlook on mortality and the life beyond. Many interpreters view the song as a metaphor for death and ascent into heaven, or overcoming struggles and looking forward to better days.
The song is considered a classic in the field of gospel music and has become a staple in American music, covered by a wide range of artists in multiple genres.
Cultural Impact
It is featured in the movie "The Ladykillers" (2004), where it's performed by Donnie McClurkin. This helped introduce the song to a new generation.
Bob Dylan himself has cited the Staple Singers' recording of "Uncloudy Day" as an early influence. He said that it "touched me to the bone" and that "when I heard it, I probably felt like I was somebody else."
Continued Popularity
Through the years, the song has maintained its popularity and is often included in hymnals and gospel song collections. It has been recorded by artists in different genres such as Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, demonstrating the enduring appeal of "Uncloudy Day".
"Uncloudy Day" is a traditional gospel song that has been recorded by many renowned artists, including Bob Dylan and The Staple Singers.
Bob Dylan's version
Bob Dylan's cover of "Uncloudy Day" was included in his 1970 studio album, "Self Portrait." This largely panned album is a major departure from Dylan's earlier works, featuring a collection of cover songs.
Meaning of the song
The song "Uncloudy Day" symbolizes a deep longing for an unburdened and joyous future, or Heaven in the traditional Christian sense.
The Staple Singers' version
The Staple Singers, a Chicago-based gospel group known for their soulful harmonies and civil rights activism, covered "Uncloudy Day" in 1956. It is considered a groundbreaking recording in the history of gospel music.
Their version's impact
Their rendition of "Uncloudy Day" was notably thoroughfare because it displayed a unique fusion of gospel, soul, and blues music which had a significant influence on the direction of future gospel music.
The Staple Singers' version of "Uncloudy Day" was financially successful, reportedly selling over a million copies by 1957.
The Staple Singers rendition of "Uncloudy Day" was originally controversial due to its rhythmic, blues-inspired style, which was seen by some listeners as too secular for a spiritual song.
Cross-Genre Influence
Bob Dylan has cited "Uncloudy Day" by The Staple Singers as one of his major influences. Particularly, he noted the song's blend of religious themes with popular music style as an inspiration for his own songwriting.
Youthful Impact
Bob Dylan said in his memoir "Chronicles: Volume One" that listening to "Uncloudy Day" at 12 years old gave him a feeling of mystery and otherworldliness that affected his own music.
In 1999, “Uncloudy Day” was enshrined in the Grammy Hall of Fame, recognizing its significance in the evolution and influence of recorded music history.

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