Heavy Rain Falling: Here’s My Five Favorite Rain Songs (’70s Version)
Already over two inches of rain has fallen on the Grand Rapids metro, and with more on the way, let's cozy up inside and listen to some rain songs.
Let's start at the top and work our way down.
There is no better rain song than Tony Joe White's classic blues ballad, 'A Rainy Night In Georgia'.
The most popular version was made famous by the incomparable Brook Benton. The guitar riffs that open this song sounds like a heavy downpour, and the plaintive verses of love lost make you feel even colder as our protagonist waits out a summer storm.
If you're up to it, the original Tony Joe White is ten times sadder. Don't believe me? Check it out.
Up next, we have Eric Clapton from his debut solo album after leaving the Yardbirds. Eric had become quick friends with American blues purveyors Delaney and Bonnie, and co-wrote this song with Bonnie Bramlett. It chugs along like a typical blues rocker, and hits its crescendo with some nice Eric riffs.
Eddie Rabbit was working as a studio musician and song writer in Nashville when he penned a song about a man wandering through Kentucky trying to find a women who left him. "Kentucky Rain" was picked up by Elvis Presley, who took it up the charts in the spring of 1970, making it his first hit of the new decade, and setting up Rabbit for a long career as a song writer and performer in his own right.
American Beauty was a breakthrough album for the Grateful Dead, as they shifted from their original psychedelic jam band direction into old school American blues and country music, a genre that would become known as "Americana".
The lead off track from American Beauty was a collaboration between bassist Phil Lesh and long time Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, and is one of the few songs sung by Phil in the Dead canon. Fans would oft times yell 'Let Phil Sing' at Dead shows as their way of requesting this song, "Box of Rain", which is still one of my favorite rain songs.
What do you want me to do, to do for you to see you through? A box of rain will ease the pain, and love will see you through.
And last but not least for our tour of '70s rain songs, is this classic from Albert Hammond, and ironically it's about the lack of rain. Or is it?
Albert sings from the perspective of a man who left his hometown for success in Hollywood, only to find the going their rough. "It Never Rains In Southern California" shows the dark side of the entertainment industry, the people who fail at the game are left to feel the heavy rain of failure. Heavy, I know.
The other side of this is the true fact that no one quite knows how to deal with rain in Southern California, as I learned when working out there in the '80s. People slow down to 40 mph on the freeway in a light rain. It's ponderous, man. Simply ponderous.
If it keeps on rainin', I'll be back next week with an '80s take on rain songs. In the meantime, here's an honorable mention song from Led Zeppelin.
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