I Wish It Would Rain
|"I Wish It Would Rain"|
|Single by The Temptations|
|from the album The Temptations Wish It Would Rain|
|B-side||"I Truly, Truly Believe"|
|Released||December 21, 1967|
|Recorded||Hitsville USA (Studio A); April 22 and August 31, 1967|
|The Temptations singles chronology|
The song is one of the most melancholy in the Temptations repertoire, with lead singer David Ruffin delivering, in a pained voice, the story of a heartbroken man who wants to hide his sorrow. His woman has just left him, and he wishes that it would start raining, to hide the tears falling down his face because "a man ain't supposed to cry". Accompanying Ruffin's mourning vocal are the vocals of his bandmates (Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, and Otis Williams) alongside the subdued instrumentation of The Funk Brothers studio band, and, courtesy of Whitfield, sound effects depicting the "sunshine and blue skies", with the sound of chirping seagulls, and the sound of thunder and rain described in the song. Producer Norman Whitfield devised much of the musical structure of the song, with former Motown artist Barrett Strong composing the song's signature piano intro on a piano with only ten working keys. Motown staff writer Rodger Penzabene provided the song's lyrics.
More so than a number of other Motown songs, there is real sentiment and pain behind the song's words. Lyricist Penzabene had just found out his wife was cheating on him with another man. Unable to deal with the pain and unable to stop loving his wife, Penzabene expressed his pain in the lyrics of this song and its follow-up on the Temptations' release schedule, "I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)". The distraught Penzabene committed suicide on New Year's Eve 1967, a week after the single's release.
Issued with the Melvin Franklin-led "I Truly, Truly Believe" as its B-side, "I Wish It Would Rain" peaked for three weeks in February and March 1968 at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart and at the number-one position on the Billboard R&B singles chart. The single was the focal point of the Temptations' 1968 album The Temptations Wish It Would Rain.
"I Wish It Would Rain" has been covered by a number of artists, including:
- Ike & Tina Turner released a version arranged by Ike Turner and produced by Tina Turner in 1969.
- Marvin Gaye's version, produced under a funk sound and featuring just him in vocals, was the B-side to his number-one hit "Let's Get It On" in 1973
- The Faces, recorded a 1973 cover and was a hit in the United Kingdom.
- Gladys Knight & the Pips (peaking in the US at number 41 pop and 15 R&B).
- Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin from Get It Right (1983)
- In 1990 Little Caesar released a version of the song.
- Percy Sledge (1994 on his Blue Night album).
- Australian singer songwriter, Jon Stevens recorded and released a version of the song in 1994, with money raised benefiting drought-stricken farmers. The song peaked at number 49 in New Zealand.
- Renée Geyer released a version as the lead single from her album Dedicated (2007)
- Bowman, Rob (2006). Liner Notes for Get Ready: Definitive Performances. Reelin' in the Years Productions/Universal Music.
- "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Company. 80 (7): 56. 1968. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Company. 80 (8): 58. 1968. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Company. 80 (9): 54. 1968. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
- "Ike & Tina Turner - I Wish It Would Rain / With A Little Help From My Friends". Discogs.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 330.
- "Jon Stevens Band". Saxton. Retrieved 9 August 2016.