“Into each life some rain must fall,” wrote poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in “The Rainy Day” (cool video here), long before the Ink Spots sang the same sentiment in 1944. Most of us remember Longfellow more for another poem, the historically inaccurate myth-making “Paul Revere’s Ride,” which helped make a hero out of one of our earliest noteworthy plagiarists.
But back to the rain, which a couple of days ago revealed a leak in our roof and led to me falling from the attic of the house, and then climbing onto the roof in the rain to patch around the chimney. Neither my body nor my ego was injured enough to keep Joanna and me from going to a great jazz concert featuring saxophone player Chris Potter and the Whitworth University Jazz Ensemble that evening, and despite the fall and the leaky roof, I’m still a longtime fan of rain, going back at least to when Joanna and I lived in a bus.
The Oregon Coast is a great place for rain, seemingly every day during the winter. But there’s nothing quite like having the rain pinging off of a metal roof just over your head as you lie in a king-sized bed with your spouse and two black lab puppies. No mechanical noise machine can match real Oregon rain for helping you drift off to sleep.
A lot of songs — many, many songs, many of them gloomy — have been written about rain. For this post, I considered Eric Clapton’s “Let It Rain,” Jimi Hendrix’s “One Rainy Wish,” Eddie Rabbitt’s “I Love a Rainy Night,” Led Zeppelin’s “Rain Song” and B.J. Thomas’ version of “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” (used in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” starring Joanna’s heartthrob), among others.
A personal favorite is the Gene Kelly’s classic “Singin’ in the Rain” from the film of the same name (from which I also use a segment in my media history class, when talking about the transition from silent films to “talkies”). But here it loses out to Gordon Lightfoot’s sensitive “Rainy Day People.” A video that includes the lyrics is below.