I can't stand the rain, but I like a lot of songs about it

J. H. Osborne • Feb 25, 2019 at 10:00 PM

On Friday morning, my fellow Dobyns-Bennett Class of ’81 member Eric O’Neill made about 35 Facebook posts (in about as many minutes) with links to songs about rain. I recognized many. Others I am not familiar with. I didn’t see all his posts in real time. But throughout the afternoon, one would pop up here and there in my feed. And so, songs about rain became stuck in my mind — like a slip-on shoe pulled off by a deep patch of mud.

The result is my attempt to identify my own Top Ten songs about rain. Each reminds me of a particular place, time or person from my past. I’ve long found music to be one of the quickest personal memory triggers. Hearing certain songs can transport me back to a time of great joy or sadness.

First on my list, first to my mind, was “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” the 12-inch disco version by a group called Eruption. Eric prefers Tina Turner’s version. I love me some Tina, and her version is much more soulful. But disco is deeply ingrained in the soundtrack of my life.

My next choice is gonna be debatable by some. It’s a disco cover as well: Donna Summer’s 12-inch single of “MacArthur Park.” No rain in the title. But there’s that key lyric: “Someone left my cake out in the rain.  I don’t think that I can take it, 'Cause it took so long to make it, And I'll never have that recipe again, oh, no.”

Sticking with disco and 12-inch singles, third on my list is 1983’s “It’s Raining Men,” by the Weather Girls. Back when MTV was 24/7 music videos, you could catch this pack-the-dance-floor video several times a day. In the 1980s I danced a lot. A couple of years ago Martha Wash (one-half of the Weather Girls) performed “It’s Raining Men” at a large party I attended in Florida. It was great to hear her belt it out with the same enthusiasm as 30-odd years ago. Made me want to dance. But I didn’t.

I have to go rock and early 1970s for my No. 4: Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”

Jump ahead to 1980 for my No. 5: Eddie Rabbitt’s  “I Love a Rainy Night.” It actually makes me want it to rain. And I do love a rainy night — if I’m inside, and especially if I’m sleeping under a tin roof. I also love a good hike in the woods during a gentle summer rain (not a thunderstorm). And I am one of those folks who enjoy watching a storm from a rocker on a wide front porch. I do not like driving in the rain.

No. 6: Jo Dee Messina (with backup vocals by Tim McGraw) and 2001’s “Bring On the Rain.” I was going through a lot of change in late 2001 and early 2002. I wasn’t alone. The whole country was dealing with the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The lyrics I love so much: “Tomorrow’s another day, And I’m thirsty anyway, So bring on the rain.”

Coming in at seven and eight are two more country songs: “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” by Willie Nelson, and “I’m No Stranger to the Rain,” by Keith Whitley.

My No. 9 is pretty offbeat and proves I’m a sucker for visuals, even when we’re talking about a song. It’s Blind Melon’s “No Rain,” from 1993. The opening lyrics are “All I can say is that my life is pretty plain, I like watchin’ the puddles gather rain ...” The melody is great. But the video, oh the video. If you’re old enough (yet young enough) to remember, it’s the video with the “bee girl.” When we first encounter her, she is rejected and laughed at as she tap dances in her fabulous costume. At video’s end, she finds a whole field full of folks dressed and dancing the same way.

No. 10 takes me back to Lincoln Elementary, and I suspect many of you will think it deserves to be No. 1 “with a bullet.” 

“Rain, rain, go away, Come again some other day.”

J.H. Osborne covers Sullivan County government for the Times News. Email him at [email protected]




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