|Song by Tay Zonday|
|Released||April 22, 2007 (Planet Zonday)|
|Recorded||Tay Zonday's apartment, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.|
"Chocolate Rain" is a song and music video by Tay Zonday, created as a commentary on racism and social injustice in the United States. It quickly went viral after it was posted to YouTube on April 22, 2007, and has since been viewed more than 100 million times. The music video portrays a bespectacled Zonday in a recording studio wearing a white T-shirt and singing into a condenser microphone. Occasional cutbacks to Zonday playing a digital piano are also shown. A caption appears early in the video - "**I move away from the mic to breathe in" - which has been parodied many times. "Chocolate Rain" is ranked as the hottest viral video of summer 2007 by CTV. It was awarded the 2007 YouTube Award in the category "Music".
"Chocolate Rain" is known for Zonday's dark tone and his mannerisms while singing. David Lowe of The Sun characterized Zonday's voice as being "gravelly as Rod Stewart but alas without the groove", expressing no surprise at Zonday's lack of formal musical training. Other reviews have been more favorable. Garth Montgomery of The Daily Telegraph praises the song's "hypnotic quality" while criticizing its "cheesy drum loop".
During a brief interview on The Opie and Anthony Show, Zonday called the song "cheesy" and stated that its cryptic lyrics dealt with racism. This echoes Zonday's comments posted to the video's page on YouTube.
Many attribute the initial spread of the popularity of the song to 4chan. Zonday said, "I'm pretty sure the 'Chocolate Rain' attention started as a joke at 4chan.org, an internet forum that is credited with starting lots of popular internet phenomena. It spread to a general audience and people started uploading spoofs. I don't know what causes people to listen to my music. If I could speak it, there would be no reason to write songs."
Clips of the video have been played or referenced on TV and radio shows, including G4TV's Attack of the Show, Last Call with Carson Daly, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and Maury. On August 9, 2007, Zonday performed the song on the late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live! as part of its "Internet Talent Showcase". It has also been performed live on the BBC Radio 1 Chris Moyles Show. More recently, Zonday came out on Lily Allen and Friends, where he sang in a live performance of Lily Allen's song "Smile". Zonday performed Chocolate Rain during the autism education benefit Night of Too Many Stars on October 2, 2010. During some 2007 and 2008 performances, LeRoi Moore, the saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band, integrated the melody into an outro on the band's song "The Dreaming Tree". Zonday also got a "Web Redemption" on Daniel Tosh's show Tosh.0.
Spoofs and tributes
"Chocolate Rain" is the subject of numerous parodies, tributes, remixes, and covers on the Internet. Major musical artists (such as John Mayer and Green Day drummer Tre Cool) have spoofed the song on TV and YouTube and Blamesociety Productions produced its own parody using Chad Vader.
Zonday himself appeared on the August 2007 episode of VH1's Best Week Ever and performed a parody called "Summer Break". In March 2008, Zonday came out in YouTube Live, where he performed the song. Also, in that same show, Bo Burnham (with his song "Welcome to YouTube") made a comical reference to the song, with the lyrics "Your favourite coat's got a doo-doo stain, I pray to God that's Chocolate Rain." Zonday was featured in the music video for rock band Weezer's song "Pork and Beans" and appeared in a YouTube video with Weezer's Brian Bell to play an acoustic version of "Pork and Beans" on June 3, 2008. Zonday himself appeared as a guest voice on an episode of Robot Chicken, where this song was spoofed as "Chocolate Grain".
On April 2, 2008, South Park aired "Canada on Strike" that contained an appearance of Zonday talking about "Chocolate Rain" (along with other internet memes), but then he was killed at the end of this scene when a stare from the Dramatic Look Gopher made his head explode. The title of the hit was humorously manipulated in the phrase "get ready for some chocolate pain" within the episode. The episode brought back the video's popularity and boosted its views by over one million in the days following its airing. On the Office episode "Business Ethics," Michael Scott confesses that when he discovered YouTube, he "watched Cookie Monster sings 'Chocolate Rain' about a thousand times". This prompted the creation of several said videos a few days later. Paul Reubens debuted a spoof educational movie called Journey to Banana Land that beckoned "Chocolate Rain" when the narrator mentions cocoa trees; Zonday's YouTube video is used as Reubens sings along. On 30 Rock, Liz called Toofer "Chocolate Rain" in the 2007 season premiere. It was also a reference on the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Boating Buddies". Squidward spills hot chocolate on himself and SpongeBob says, "Chocolate Rain!"
In November 2007, Tay Zonday licensed the song to and recorded spoof lyrics for Comedy Central as a promo clip for their show Last Laugh with Lewis Black. On November 28, 2007, Zonday released a spoof/sequel to the song titled "Cherry Chocolate Rain". The music video is professionally shot and makes many allusions to the original song. The song makes fun of itself with its over-the-top visuals and mentions how Zonday was "paid a hefty, hefty fee" to do the video, as well as featuring professional rapper Mista Johnson, who repeats, "He moves his mouth away from the mic so he can breathe." The video and song were created as part of a promotional campaign for Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr Pepper.
The song and video are licensed under a Creative Commons by-nc-nd license. Even though this license is not completely free, it has been suggested that the relative openness of the license has helped to encourage the song's spread. Creative Commons has praised Tay Zonday specifically for this very reason. Zonday has expressed his own thoughts on the licensing situation on his Myspace blog, stating, "I want non-profit radio and small mom/pop cafes to be able to play my music for free. But I also want giant corporations who can afford to give me a dime or two to pay fair royalties."
- Zonday, Tay (April 22, 2007). ""Chocolate Rain" Original Song by Tay Zonday". YouTube.
- Carlson, Erin (March 20, 2008). "Will the Obama Girl win a YouTube award?". Associated Press. Archived from the original on March 23, 2008. Retrieved March 20, 2008.
- Associated Press (March 21, 2008). "Viral videos win big at second YouTube Awards". CNN.com. Archived from the original on March 23, 2008. Retrieved March 21, 2008.
- Montgomery, Garth (August 3, 2007). "Chocolate Rain goes huge". The Daily Telegraph.
- Lowe, David (August 1, 2007). "Web crooner with 3m fans". The Sun.
- "U.N. Squadron – A forgotten favorite". PlanetArbitrary. Retrieved May 29, 2012.
- "UN Squadron and Chocolate Rain". YouTube. Retrieved Nov 8, 2011.
- "Tay Zonday on the Opie & Anthony show". July 19, 2007. Retrieved July 20, 2007.
- "All Comments to "Chocolate Rain"". YouTube. Retrieved July 20, 2007.
- Mathew Ingram (August 15, 2007). "Who is Tay Zonday? 21". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 19, 2008.[dead link]
- "Make It Rain: Tay Zonday". HHNLiv. July 30, 2007. Retrieved January 19, 2008.
- Tay Zonday on Attack of the Show 's Daily Video Podcast
- Zonday performs "Chocolate Rain" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, August 9, 2007
- Zonday performs "Chocolate Rain" on The Chris Moyles Show
- MTV News Staff (August 6, 2007). "Jennifer Lopez And Marc Anthony Roll Out Tour Dates; Plus Lindsay Lohan, Gwen Stefani, Nas, Amy Winehouse & More, In For The Record". MTV News.
- Cashmere, Tim (August 3, 2007). "Green Day Drummer Tre Cool Covers Tay Zonday". Undercover. Retrieved August 9, 2007.
- Tré Cool's parody cover on YouTube
- Chad Vader parody on YouTube
- "Summer Break" from ifilm.com
- Acoustic Pork and Beans
- Robot Chicken: Chocolate Grain - Adult Swim Video (Retrieved April 26, 2010)
- Cherry Chocolate Rain on YouTube
- Parkins, Cameron (August 1, 2007). "Tay Zonday's "Chocolate Rain"". Creative Commons weblog.
- Tay Zonday's Myspace page