My Top 10 “Rain Songs,” by Rich Paschall
Summer rain may be tapping at your window and that means it is time for some rain music. Before you can step out of a rainbow or sail into a sunset, we have your songs for a Summer Rain.
Every time I consider a Top 10 list of songs, I think I will never actually come up with ten. The fact is, I always pass 10 and must consider which ones to toss. Remember, my rain-soaked friends, this is my top 10. Some make the list only because I heard them thousands of times as I grew up. They seem to have been woven into my life, and have been there now for decades. I do have one of recent vintage to toss on the list. I think you will like it.
I did notice there are a lot songs that are highly regarded for this topic (yes, other people make lists), but I could not bring myself to add them. One is the horribly overblown version of November Rain by Guns and Roses. The over-long video with the orchestra and strings is a self-indulgent piece of … (I digress), but it nevertheless makes the top of some rainy lists. Guitarist Slash said in an interview a few years ago that he has no idea what the 1992 video for the song is about. Yeah, it makes no sense to him either.
Without further a do, or is it ado, or a dew? Anyway it is not just dew, it is rain and here they are:
10. I Wish it Would Rain, The Temptations. This was released as a single in December 1967 and featured on the 1968 album, The Temptations Wish It Would Rain.
9. Fire and Rain, James Taylor. Released in 1970, Taylor has since given various explanations of the lyrics.
8. Here Comes the Rain Again, Eurythmics. Released in 1984 it climbed to number 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
7. Rainy Days and Mondays, The Carpenters. Yes, it is pop fluff. I like it anyway.
6. Rainy Night in Georgia, Brook Benton. There are a lot of versions, Benton’s is the best.
There are a number of fan videos of Hunter Hayes performing Rainy Season, but nothing official. Since I have not found a good one, I will give you this audio version from the Encore album.
Neil Sedaka had a string of hits that go well back into the 1960’s. His early rock songs made him a star. In 1974 he composed Laughter in the Rain with lyrics by Phil Cody. It was a come back for Sedaka and the song made number 1 by February of 1975. Forty years later, at the age of 76, he gave the following performance. Yes, I can find earlier versions where his singing is a little better, but I just love it when the old guys can still deliver the goods.
4. Laughter in the Rain, Neil Sedaka
There are a LOT of versions of “Come Rain or Come Shine.” The Ray Charles version is particularly good, and I highly recommend it (click HERE). My addition to the list may surprise you. Jerry Lewis was not known as a singer and yet, he had a successful album after the breakup of the comedy duo of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Jerry was eager to prove he had more talent than just as a slapstick comedian. My mother owned the 45, or was it a 78 rpm, recording and we played it ad nauseam. The A side was Rock a Bye Your Baby and certainly got a lot of radio and juke box play, but the B side was well-regarded also. There is a You Tube video of Lewis performing the song at one of the 1990s telethons. I decided to just go with the actual recording he made famous.
3. Come Rain or Come Shine, Jerry Lewis (Jerry Lewis Just Sings)
Whenever I hear this hit song, I think of Paul Newman riding a bicycle in the 1969 movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The song was written and produced by the song writing team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It was offered to others, but the B.J. Thomas version is the only one that matters. It was the first number 1 hit song of the 1970s. On the version recorded for the film, Thomas was recovering from laryngitis. It is why that version does not sound the same as the hit record.
2. Rain Drops Keep Falling On My Head, B.J. Thomas
Seriously, what do you think of when you think about rain songs? Purple Rain? Have You Ever Seen Rain? Who’ll Stop the Rain? What one song immediately comes to mind? All fans of movie musicals will think of my number one. Is there any other?
The 1952 film, Singing in the Rain, got its title tune from a 1929 (or earlier) song that appeared in 1929’s The Hollywood Music Box Revue. It was recorded a number of times before it was recycled to great success as the centerpiece of the classic movie. Gene Kelly directed and starred in the film, recording one of the most famous dance sequences ever shot. The remarkable part is that Kelly was ill and running a high fever at the time of the performance.
1. Singing in the Rain, Gene Kelly
Click on any title to play the You Tube video. or play the entire list by clicking HERE.