The Friday, Jan. 12, Column

Rainy day blues

It seems like we waited weeks for it, well, it actually was weeks, and maybe just enough time for the grass to regrow and keep the hills from sliding down, but three inches in 24 hours may have been a little much, with more on the way. There is a certain romance about the rain, other than having to drive a car in it. Hearing it on the roof, strolling in the gentle showers, walking hand in hand, that first time your child discovers it. We’ve got a list of songs about the rain, and maybe not the most popular ones, and the list is hundreds long, but we picked eight that are favorites of ours, in no particular order, and a couple maybe you’ve never heard before.

Here Comes that Rainy Day Feeling Again

Come on, you sang the title as you read it didn’t you. The Fortunes had a handful of hits in the middle of the British Invasion in the mid-’60, but it took until ’71 for this song to hit number 15 on Billboards “Hot 100” and regardless of having released 24 singles, none ever reached higher than number 7. But if you’re looking for the “Real Thing” these are your guys, having written that song for a Coca Cola ad in 1969.

Who’ll Stop the Rain

Between wondering who will stop it and if you’ve ever seen it, the Fogerty brothers were churning out hits left and right in the late ‘60s to early ‘70s. The act initially signed with Fantasy Records in Oakland in ’64 under a different name, the Blue Velvets, and quickly the label changed the name to the Golliwogs. In ’68 the band was tasked to come up with a new name, and Creedence Clearwater Revival was born. These is some local lore regarding that record contract, and we’ve heard this story more than once from various people, that allegedly the band Fantasy initially signed to be that act was from Sonoma, and one of the stipulations was if anyone in the band got drafted, the deal was off. That happened and the rest, they say, is history.

I Can’t Stand the Rain

You may have heard the 1984 version of this song covered by Tina Turner, but it was Ann Peebles that had a hit with it first in ’73, and the title came about literally when Peebles looked up in a rainstorm and pronounced “I Can’t stand the Rain.” Peebles version managed to reach number 38 on the Billboard charts, and Turners was never released as a single in the US, but the disco act “Eruption” brought it all the way to number six in 1978.

Purple Rain

Unfortunately, we discovered how much larger than life Prince was after his death, with a relentless social media feed as a tribute for days after he passed. The album, film and single, all of the same title, was a blockbuster for Prince and the Revolution. Originally slated to be a collaboration with Stevie Nicks, Nicks felt the song was just too much pressure for her, so she declined. Upon his death in 2016, the song again hit the charts, this time skyrocketing to number one on the Billboard charts. A staple at many of Prince’s shows, sans a couple years between leaving his record label and changing his name. His performance at Superbowl XLI in 2007 during halftime was one to remember, when almost on cue, bathed in purple lights, a downpour drenched the stadium during the song. It was almost as if it was part of the script.   


Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head

Burt Bachrach and Hal David were churning out hits all during the ‘60s for artists like Bobbie Gentry, Herb Alpert, Tom Jones, the Carpenters and B. J. Thomas was one of the lucky recipients. Originally recorded for the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” the hit not only won an academy award for Best Original Song but also was part of the award for Best Original Musical Score that year. The song hit number one on the Billboard chart in January of 1970, which it hung on to for seven weeks.

Let it Rain

After Cream and before Derek and the Dominos, Eric Clapton managed to release a self-titled solo album in 1970, with co-writers Delany and Bonnie Bramlett, which resulted in a hit with J. J. Cale’s “After Midnight.” Clapton’s contributions to rock and blues can never be overstated, but the simplicity of this song and it’s lyrics have always stuck with us. “Now I know the secret there is nothing that I lack. If I give my love to you, you’ll surely give it back.” Words we could still learn from today.


The song is called by some as the best B-Side song ever released by the Beatles, and showcased a style of music and production that would foresee the sound of the next LP release “Revolver.” The flip side to the song “Paperback Writer,” which reached number one on essentially every music chart in the world, was the first recording ever to use backwards tape playback. As to whether it was John Lennon who in a haze of hashish after a late-night recording session simply put the tape on his machine at home backwards and played it, or producer George Martin who came up with the idea is a point of contention, but the technique was used several times on “Revolver” and then by many other artists that followed.

Sure Can Smell the Rain

In the ‘90s we had become pretty disgusted with rock music, likely because we hadn’t become a rockstar by then and “Grunge” had taken over the charts, we re-discovered country music, in a period of time before “new” country when the songs were still based in the roots of country music but with more of a pop feel. Having always been a sucker for a proper pop song, the band Blackhawk caught our ear. The trio featured veteran songwriters Van Stephenson and Dave Robbins along with Henry Paul, former member of the southern rock act “the Outlaws,” famous for the southern rock anthem “Green Grass and High Tides.” And released the first self-titled album in 1993 and produced three singles in addition to this song. The band has released five studio albums and tours on to this day, with Paul and other Southern Rock veterans.


Set List – The Rundown

Friday Farmers Market, Depot Park, 270 First St W. Sonoma
Today, Jan. 12: Stewart Degner. 9:30 a.m.

HopMonk Tavern, 691 Broadway Sonoma, 935-9100
Tonight, Jan. 12: Roem Bauer. 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 13: Nate Lopez. 8 p.m.

Murphy’s Irish Pub, 464 First St. E. Sonoma, 935-0660.
Tonight, Jan. 12: River Town Trio. 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 13: Michael Lounibos and Adam Traum. 8 p.m.

Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs, 938-7587
Tonight, Dec. 1: Ryan Tatarian and Matt Silva. 6:30 p.m. 

The Reel Fish House and Grill, 401 Grove St. El Verano, 343-0044
Tonight, Jan. 12: DJ dance party. 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 13: Tommy  Thomsen’s annual birthday celebration and western swing dance.8 p.m.  

Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall, 452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma, 996-1364
Tonight, Jan. 12: Bruce Gordon, Jenni Purcell and Jodi Stevens. 6:30 p.m. Marina Crouse. 8 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 13: Full Circle. 5 p.m.  Peter Welker and the Sidemen. 8 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 14: T Luke – Solo. 5 p.m. Acoustic Blues Jam. 8:30 p.m.

Sonoma Valley Regional Library, 755 W. Napa St. Sonoma, 996-5217
Saturday, Jan. 13: Swing Street. 2 p.m.

If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it.


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