Roxanne Tellier: The Rain, The Park and … Stop Raining for Pete’s Sake!

Roxanne DBAWISListen to the rhythm of the falling rain … again. Why oh why are we getting so much rain these days? Yeah, yeah, climate change – I’m hep, but let me wax poetic for a bit, will you? I know I’m supposed to be glad for the farmers and all that, but this year’s precipitation is wearing me down. I’m starting to feel like at least four of the Seven Dwarfs – Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy and Dopey.

carrot-on-a-stickCanadians tend to trudge through three out of four seasons, with the carrot of summer as their goad and goal. Summer; the cottage, the beach, hot bods in minimal clothing … beer!

We ask so little. In the right circumstances, we’ll even agree to a little bit of rain, to cool off the day, and for a chance to huddle somewhere romantic with a summer love.

But too much rain puts a damper on outdoor plans, and makes most people a little sleepy, if not downright gloomy. Some people experience achy joints even before rain begins, their bones reacting to changes in barometric pressure, while arthritis sufferers may feel real pain during a downpour. Yep, “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again.”

My hair hates rain; moisture gives hair the frizzies, turning my sleek do into a voluminous but kinky mane. Worst of all, rain showers carry pollutants. Rainwater can damage, and ultimately weaken, the hair shaft. Wash that rain right out of your hair, people!

As kids, we chant, “Rain, Rain, Go Away – Come Again Another Day,” and we’d never dream of stepping on a spider, because everyone knows that spider squashing guarantees rain. Car washing apparently has the same effect, as most drivers will swear. Even putting out your lawn furniture too early in the season will doom the rest of us to staring out of the window, wondering which drop will make it to the bottom of the pane first.

Still, rain has always inspired songwriters. Everything is grist for the writer’s mill, but rain seems to really shove a metaphorical knife in a tunesmith’s gut. Being stuck indoors on what should have been a glorious day can put the boots to writers block.

They write for the shy listener, who can’t bear to be seen living through heartache, “raindrops will hide my teardrops, so no one will ever know that I’m crying.” For the life of the party, who desperately wants to impress a girl, the rain is like the “tears of a clown, when no one’s around.”

Dee Clark thought he must have “raindrops falling from his eyes.”

Buddy Holly had rain in his heart:

And although it didn’t help when they got busted for lip-syncing to their songs, the Milli Vanilli dudes blamed everything on it:

Despite being from the San Francisco Bay Area, Creedence Clearwater Revival mined a Southern roots style, and reveled in rain, scoring hits with “Have you Ever Seen the Rain and “Who’ll Stop the Rain?

I can’t hear Johnny Rivers singing “Summer Rain” without being transported back to the halcyon days of the early seventies ….

Toto felt the rains down in “Africa.” Willie Nelson saw “Blue Eyes Cryin’ In the Rain.” James Taylor claims to have seen “Fire and Rain,” and The Beatles taught us that “when it rains or shines, it’s just a state of mind.”

Some of us aren’t bright enough to “Come In from the Rain,” (Melissa Manchester.) Barbara Streisand was adamant that none of us “Rain on My Parade.” Leonard Cohen had a “Famous Blue Raincoat.” Garbage was “Only Happy When It Rains.” The Eurythmics took a more pragmatic stance, noting that rain was an inevitable part of life.

The men of Led Zeppelin were apparently inspired by George Harrison’s comment to drummer John Bonham that the Zep lacked ballads. So they wrote the seven minute long  “The Rain Song” for the album “Houses of The Holy,” weaving their trademark sound around a quasi-orchestral string sound. In a tribute to Harrison, the opening two chords are recognizably borrowed from the first line of his Beatle’s ballad “Something.”

Here’s a fun bit of trivia for you – Wikipedia lists 24 films, albums and songs called “Let It Rain,” and that doesn’t even include the one I sang on the eponymous Delta Tango album. The earliest film mentioned is “Let It Rain,” a 1927 film featuring Boris Karloff, and the most current song is 2011’s “Let It Rain,” by David Nail. Great minds and all that.

A lot of singers were “Walking in the Rain,” including The Ronettes, Oran “Juice” Jones, and Johnnie Ray, but my favorite take on the subject is this track by Flash and The Pan.

Lena Horne, that exquisite beauty and songbird, summed up the despair of the lovelorn in “Stormy Weather.” Here’s a clip from the 1943 film of the same name, with the great Lena Horne delivering a sizzling performance of her signature song.

But leave it to Gene Kelly to make sloshing through rain a happy, if messy, good thing.

Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen took up the cause with the snappy “Walk Between the Raindrops.”

Sure, it may rain cats and dogs, but if it’s gotta rain, the only cloudburst I want to be in is “Raining Men.”

When the rain finally ends, let’s hope it leaves us with a “Rainbow Connection,” and a pot of gold, like this touching duet between Kermit the Frog and Debbie Harry of Blondie.

= RT =

Roxanne’s column appears here every Sunday 

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonRoxanne Tellier has been singing since she was 10 months old … no, really. Not like she’s telling anyone else how to live their lives, because she’s not judgmental, and most 10 month olds need a little more time to figure out how to hold a microphone. After years of doing things she didn’t want to do, she’s found herself working with a bunch of crazy people who are as batshit crazy and devoted to music as she is, and so she can be found every Monday at Cherry Cola’s, completely unable to think of anything funny to say, as the co-host of Bob Segarini’s The Bobcast. Come and mock her. She’s good with that. And she laughs. A lot. But not at you.

2 Responses to “Roxanne Tellier: The Rain, The Park and … Stop Raining for Pete’s Sake!”

  1. Doug Thompson Says:

    Another wonderful column from Roxy, although we can’t forget Canada’s own Guess Who with their 1971 hit, “Rain Dance”. And while I’d never disagree with Roxy on anything, I do have to say that Milli Vanilli actually got caught lip-syncing to someone else’s songs, since they didn’t perform on any of them – they just looked good and could dance.

  2. awwww Doug .. you are correct on both fronts. I should have cited “Rain Dance, ” but I just .. am not fond of the tune. As to Milli Vanilli … enough has been said of those poor fellas … so sad to be an 90’s punchline …

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