Katrina and the Waves' one-hit wonder, Walking on Sunshine, released in 1985, turns out to have had extraordinary--golden, you might say--legs. This article counts the beans:
The money from “Walking on Sunshine” kept coming in. In [a] wise move, Katrina and the Waves held on to the publishing rights. That's the money that typically goes to the songwriter, in this case the band's guitarist, Kimberley Rew, [who] shares that money with the rest of the band.
Over the years, the song showed up all over the place: in movies like “American Psycho” and “High Fidelity,” and in countless commercials, for everything from diapers to medicine.
“'Walking on Sunshine' was the crown jewel in EMI's catalog," says Jarrett Mason, who worked for EMI Publishing from 2004 to 2008. He says that of the roughly 1.3 million songs in EMI's catalog, “Walking on Sunshine” was one of its biggest earners--and that advertisers would pay $150,000 to $200,000 to use it for one year.
By some estimates, “Walking on Sunshine” has made the band about $1 million per year over the past decade. Rew has written more than 200 songs since then, but he lives off the money from “Walking on Sunshine.”
And Katrina Leskanich, the voice behind the song?
Leskanich says she was fired in 1998. Lawyers were involved, and she says she no longer gets a share of the money made from “Walking on Sunshine.” But she does still sing it.
Ouch. But, yeah, who can resist this song?