Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head
|"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"|
|Single by B. J. Thomas|
|from the album Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head|
|B-side||"Never Had It So Good"|
|Studio||A&R Recording Studios, New York City|
|B. J. Thomas singles chronology|
"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" is a song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The uplifting lyrics describe somebody who overcomes his troubles and worries by realizing that "it won't be long 'till happiness steps up to greet me."
The single by B. J. Thomas reached No. 1 on charts in the United States, Canada, Norway and reached No. 38 in the UK Singles Chart. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in January 1970 and was also the first American No. 1 hit of the 1970s. The song also spent seven weeks atop the Billboard adult contemporary chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 4 song of 1970. According to Billboard magazine, Thomas' single had sold over 2 million copies by March 14, 1970, with eight-track and cassette versions also climbing the charts. It won an Oscar for Best Original Song. Bacharach also won Best Original Score.
Composition and recording
The song was recorded by B. J. Thomas in seven takes, after Bacharach expressed dissatisfaction with the first six. In the film version of the song, Thomas had been recovering from laryngitis, which made his voice sound huskier than in the 7-inch release. The film version featured a separate vaudeville-style instrumental break in double time while Paul Newman performed bicycle stunts.
Ray Stevens was first offered the opportunity to record it for the film, but turned it down. He chose instead to record the song "Sunday Morning Coming Down", written by Kris Kristofferson. Bob Dylan is supposed to have been approached for the song, but he reportedly declined too. The trumpet solos in the song are performed by Chuck Findley.
In 2004, it finished at number 23 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema. In 2008, the single was ranked 85th on Billboard's Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs and placed 95th in the 55th Anniversary edition of the All-Time Hot 100 list in 2013. Billboard Magazine also ranked the song 15th on its Top 50 Movie Songs of All Time list in 2014.
The song, initially when it came out, I believe it was October of 69, the movie didn't come out until December, it did get some bad reviews. It was a very unique and different sounding song, Bacharach and David never had any qualms about trying to do anything different, or push the envelope so to speak. So nowadays, it sounds pretty tame, but back then, radio resisted it to some degree. But, when the movie came out it hit hugely and sold about 200,000 to 300,000 records a day [and continued selling] for about three years.
Use in film and television
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- In 1970 Police Constable Pan-Am sings the opening lines at the end of his appearance in Series 2, Episode 4 of Monty Python's Flying Circus.
- It is on the soundtracks to Forrest Gump (1994), Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003), Spider-Man 2 (2004), in the latter accentuating Peter Parker's blissful mood after abandoning his Spider-Man identity and its responsibilities.
- In the 1990 film Gremlins 2, an "electric Gremlin" made of pure electricity is created and eventually trapped in a building's telephone system, effectively being "put on hold." A Muzak version of the song begins playing as hold music and the Gremlin begins screaming in agony.
- In 1993 it was used in The Simpsons, episode 16 of the fourth season, called "Duffless", at the end of the episode, while credits are presented.
- In 1996 it was used in the film Spy Hard, which parodied the scene in movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
- In 2003 it was used in the film The In-Laws starring Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks, which was a remake of the 1979 Peter Falk / Alan Arkin film of the same name.
- In 2004 it was used in a season 1 episode of Arrested Development entitled "Altar Egos".
- In 2004 it was used in the film Spider-Man 2 directed by Sam Raimi.
- In 2005 the first episode of the second season of the popular medical drama Grey's Anatomy was named after the song.
- In 2006 it was used in the Kevin Smith film Clerks II.
- In 2014 it was used in Top Gear: Patagonia Special while Jeremy Clarkson was doing his Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid parody on top of his Porsche 928.
- In 2015 it was used in the Family Guy episode Encyclopedia Griffin during the picnic scene with Chris was having a good time with Heather (a life size doll made from different types of junk), while tagging Peter and Lois along to which Lois gets fed up of Peter's antics in the same scene in an attempt to show him what a better relationship looks like.
- In 2017 the song was featured in the TV show Feud: Bette and Joan. The song was played during the segment where we see Joan Crawford settling into her New York City apartment.
- In 2016, 2018 & 2020 the song was used in japanese tv commercial for Keio.
Weekly singles charts
B. J. Thomas version
Johnny Farnham version
The song has been covered numerous times.
- In 1969, Craig Douglas released a version produced by Tony Hatch.
- In 1970, Barbara Mason's cover reached U.S. #112 and R&B #38.
- In 1970, from January 24 to March 13, it was the number-one hit (for seven weeks) in Australia on the Go-Set National Top 40 for local pop singer, Johnny Farnham.
- In 1970, Bobbie Gentry's version, from her album Fancy, reached number 40 in the UK chart.
- In 1970, it was covered in French by French singer Sacha Distel, whose version ”Toute La Pluie Tombe Sur Moi” was a number 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart, and number 13 in Ireland, as well as number 10 in France. Distel also recorded a version with the original English lyrics, and another in Italian, ”Gocce Di Pioggia Su Di Me”.
- In 1970, Portuguese-born television and radio presenter Pedro Biker released a Danish version re-entitled "Regndråber Drypper I Mit Hår".
- In 1970, a Swedish version "Regnet det bara öser ner" was recorded, sung by Siw Malmkvist.
- In 1970, the song was also covered by:
- Peggy Lee on her album Bridge Over Troubled Water, released by Capitol Records. 
- Dionne Warwick on her album I'll Never Fall in Love Again.
- Engelbert Humperdinck on his album We Made It Happen.
- Dean Martin
- Johnny Mathis on his album Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head.
- Perry Como on his album It's Impossible.
- The Four Tops on their album Changing Times.
- Andy Williams on his album, Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head.
- The Free Design on their album Stars/Time/Bubbles/Love.
- In 1973, Paul Mauriat recorded it with his Grand Orchestra it. It was the only known cover in the USSR.
- In 1973, the Barry Sisters covered the song in a Yiddish version ("Trop'ns Fin Regen Oif Mein Kop") on their album Our Way.
- In 1973, it was also covered by jazz vocalist Johnny Hartman on his album I've Been There.
- In 1974, Genesis referenced the song title in the lyrics of In the Cage.
- The 1995 cover version by Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers is credited with adding greater nuance to the song, the Financial Times citing their recording as transforming the song from carefree optimism to "an exhortation to keep going in the face of tragedy", and noting that Bradfield's voice "added grit to the facile lyric". The group often spent their downtime on the tour bus watching the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and incorporated the song into live sets. After the disappearance of lyricist Richey Edwards, the band decided to continue rather than split up. Having booked studio time in France to record their fourth album, Everything Must Go (1996), they were invited to record for the War Child charity album The Help Album (1995). The project required all songs to be recorded in one day. While band biographer Simon Price has described the recording and release of the record as a "coded message" that the band still existed, Bradfield recalls the events differently: "...us putting it out wasn't planned as us saying 'We're OK, guys!', but the deadline was the next day after we'd arrived in this place, for some kind of new beginning." The band's recorded version of the song contains the first recorded instance of drummer Sean Moore performing on trumpet, and also appears on their 2003 B-sides and rarities compilation album Lipstick Traces (A Secret History of Manic Street Preachers). The Manics further reference the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with the B-side "Sepia".
- Lisa Miskovsky covered the song in the extended version of her self-titled (2004) album.
- List of number-one singles in Australia during the 1970s
- List of RPM number-one singles of 1970
- List of number-one hits in Norway
- List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 1969 (U.S.)
- List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 1970 (U.S.)
- List of Hot 100 number-one singles of 1970 (U.S.)
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- Dan, Reilly (27 February 2014). "Top 50 Movie Songs Of All Time". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- B.J. Thomas (2011). Pods o' Pop-BJ Thomas Interview and Songs (MP3). Pods o' Pop. Event occurs at 34m 18s. Archived from the original (Audio) on December 12, 2013. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- "2014 Grammy Hall of Fame". Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head. THE RECORDING ACADEMY. 3 December 2013. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
- Nimmervoll, Ed (January 24, 1970). "National Top 40". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved May 16, 2014. Note: Australian pop singer, Johnny Farnham's cover version sits at No. 1 (first week), while B. J. Thomas' version is at No. 20.
- "Flavour of New Zealand". Retrieved 27 November 2014.
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Sydney : Columbia , DO-8965 7XCT3526 7XCT3527
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Polydor - 2054 005, Denmark
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Label: Reboot Stereophonic
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Stockholm Records - 986 737-6