|Single by The Supremes|
|Released||March 22, 1973|
|Genre||Soul, Funk, R&B|
Ira Tucker, Jr.
|The Supremes singles chronology|
"Bad Weather" is a song recorded and released as a single by Motown vocal group The Supremes in 1973. It was composed by Stevie Wonder and Lynda Laurence's brother Ira Tucker Jr., and produced by Wonder. The song was then-lead singer Jean Terrell's last charted single as a member of the Supremes and the second and last time Laurence was featured on a Supremes single.
By 1973, the Supremes' records were doing poorly in the charts. At that point, the lineup of Jean Terrell, Cindy Birdsong and Mary Wilson had splintered because of Birdsong's pregnancy. When recording for the group's 1972 album, Floy Joy wrapped up, Birdsong left on maternity leave and was temporarily replaced by former Wonderlove background singer, Lynda Laurence. Although Birdsong was featured on every track, Laurence appeared on the cover of the album. This lineup set on recording The Supremes Produced and Arranged by Jimmy Webb, but as it also sold poorly in spite of good reviews, undaunted Laurence asked Wonder, her former mentor, to help the group find a new sound. Wonder concocted the single "Bad Weather" under a funkier sound that the group had not been accustomed to, and recorded a few more songs with the trio (as "Soft Days", whose demo recording circulates in bootleg copies) for a future album.
When the proto-disco song (including the characteristic whistle sound of the discothèque experience) was first issued to radio in the summer of 1973, it caught some initial positive buzz mainly from the Supremes' American R&B fan base. It was also performed to a receptive audience on Soul Train, but the buzz wore down as, according to Mary Wilson years later, it wasn't a favorite of Terrell's or Laurence's. Unknowingly the group was ahead of its time, announcing the disco era, but the song only peaked at number 87 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and 74 on the R&B singles chart. However it was a different story outside the United States: "Bad Weather" was extensively played on Radio Europa, it peaked at the Top 40 of the UK singles chart at number 37, while in places like Puerto Rico it became a huge hit in discothèques and went up to number 1 in radio charts. Shortly after this single was released, Terrell left the Supremes, later followed by Laurence when she became pregnant. As years went by the Stevie Wonder song became a cult favorite, and it was finely covered in 1978 by Melissa Manchester in her LP Don't Cry Out Loud, and by Dutch singer Mathilde Santing in her 1994 album Under a Blue Roof.
The next Supremes project would take two more years to come out. In 1975, a fresh lineup of the group (including Birdsong and the newly recruited vocalist Scherrie Payne) released the disco single He's My Man with Wilson and Payne on lead, but this time the song went to the top of the dance chart.
- Lead vocals by Jean Terrell
- Background vocals by Jean Terrell and Mary Wilson and Lynda Laurence (also ad-lib solo on outro)
- Produced and arranged by Stevie Wonder
- Written by Stevie Wonder and Ira Tucker Jr.