Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head

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"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"
Released October 14, 1969[1]
Genre Easy listening, soft rock, traditional pop
Length 2:57
Label Scepter Records
Writer(s) Hal David (credited as Mack David) and Burt Bacharach (later as Luther Dixon)
Producer(s) Hal David and Burt Bacharach
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Gold record presented to backup singer Linda November for her work on "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"

"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" is a song written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach for the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.[2] It won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.[2] David and Bacharach also won Best Original Score. 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 hoarser 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.

The single by B. J. Thomas reached number 1 on charts in the United States, Canada, Norway and reached number 38 in the UK Singles Chart.[2] It topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in January 1970 and was also the first American number-one hit of the 1970s. The song also spent seven weeks atop the Billboard adult contemporary chart.[3] Billboard ranked it as the No. 4 song of 1970.[4] 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.[5]

History[edit]

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, too, reportedly declined.[6] The trumpet solos in the song are performed by Chuck Findlay.[7]

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[8] and placed 95th in the 55th Anniversary edition of the All-Time Hot 100 list in 2013.[9] Billboard Magazine also ranked the song 15th on its Top 50 Movie Songs of All Time list in 2014.[10]

"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."

— B.J. Thomas, Interview, Pods o' Pop (August 22, 2011)[11]

On December 3, 2013, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced that the single would be inducted into the 2014 Grammy Hall Of Fame.[12]

"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" was used in the film Spy Hard, which parodied the scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. 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 and Spider-Man 2, in the latter accentuating Peter Parker's blissful mood after abandoning his Spider-Man identity and its responsibilities. It was used in the Kevin Smith film Clerks II. The first episode of the second season of the popular medical drama Grey's Anatomy is named after the song. It is also used in The Simpsons, episode 16 of the fourth season, called "Duffless", at the end of the episode, while credits are presented. It was also used in a season 1 episode of Arrested Development entitled "Altar Egos". It was also used in the 2003 film The In-Laws starring Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks, which was a remake of the 1979 Peter Falk / Alan Arkin film.

Chart performance[edit]

Covers[edit]

The song has been covered numerous times. From January 24, 1970 to March 13 it was a number-one hit (for seven weeks) in Australia on the Go-Set National Top 40 for local pop singer, Johnny Farnham.[15][19] In 1970, it was also covered by Dionne Warwick on her album I'll Never Fall In Love Again, by Engelbert Humperdinck on his album We Made It Happen, 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, and The Free Design on their album Stars/Time/Bubbles/Love. Portuguese-born television and radio presenter Pedro Biker released a Danish version re-entitled "Regndråber Drypper I Mit Hår" in 1970.[20]

It has been 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,[2] 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. Bobbie Gentry's version reached number 40 in the UK chart.[2] Paul Mauriat recorded it with his Grand Orchestra it 1973. It was the only known cover in the USSR.

The Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers cover version 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".[21] 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, they were invited to record for the War Child album The Help Album. The project required all songs to be recorded in one day.[22] While band biographer Simon Price has described the recording and release of the record as a "coded message" that the band still existed,[23] 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."[22] The band's recorded version of the song contains the first recorded instance of drummer Sean Moore performing on trumpet,[23] 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".[24]

The Barry Sisters covered the song in a Yiddish version ("Trop'ns Fin Regen Oif Mein Kop") on their 1973 album Our Way.[25][26]

Lisa Miskovsky covered the song in the extended version of her self-titled (2004) album.[27]

Preceded by
"Someday We'll Be Together" by Diana Ross & the Supremes
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
January 3–24, 1970 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"I Want You Back" by The Jackson Five

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Audio Single: Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head - B.J. Thomas (October 1969)". SHS - secondhandsongs. Retrieved 2011-05-15. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 136. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  4. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1970
  5. ^ "Photo caption". Billboard. 14 March 1970. p. 1. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  6. ^ A Song A Day - Raindrops Keeps Falling On My Head, Music Aloud
  7. ^ "Herb Alpert FAQ | Herb Alpert/Tijuana Brass Discography and Collector Resource". Tijuanabrass.com. Retrieved 2016-10-02. 
  8. ^ The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs (90-81) Archived September 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Bronson, Fred (2 August 2013). "Hot 100 55th Anniversary: The All-Time Top 100 Songs". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  10. ^ Dan, Reilly (27 February 2014). "Top 50 Movie Songs Of All Time". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 3 August 2014. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ "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. 
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "Flavour of New Zealand". Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Nimmervoll, Ed. "Go-Set Australian Charts – Top Records for the Year of 1970: Number One Singles 1970". Go-Set. Waverley Press. Retrieved May 16, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca. 
  17. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1970/Top 100 Songs of 1970". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-02. 
  18. ^ [1][dead link]
  19. ^ Farnham, John (1969). "Raindrops keep fallin' on my head / Bacharach - David ; [performed by] Johnny Farnham. Two / [written and performed by] Johnny Farnham". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 30 July 2014. Sydney : Columbia [1969], DO-8965 7XCT3526 7XCT3527 
  20. ^ "Pedro Biker - Regndråber Drypper I Mit Hår/Sjælens Karrusel". Discogs. 1970. Retrieved 30 July 2014. Polydor - 2054 005, Denmark 
  21. ^ Aspden, Peter (22 May 2015). "The Life of a Song: 'Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head'". Financial Times. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  22. ^ a b Price, Simon (2 June 2016). "And If You Need An Explanation: Manic Street Preachers interviewed". Quietus. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  23. ^ a b Price, Simon (1999). Everything (A Book About Manic Street Preachers). Virgin. pp. 199–200. ISBN 0-7535-0139-2. 
  24. ^ Price, Simon (1999). Everything (A Book About Manic Street Preachers). Virgin. p. 220. ISBN 0-7535-0139-2. 
  25. ^ "Our Way" (PDF). Album Cover Notes. Stereophonic. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  26. ^ "Our Way". MTV. Retrieved 10 April 2014. Label: Reboot Stereophonic 
  27. ^ "Lisa Miskovsky - Lisa Miskovsky (New Version)". Discogs. 2004. Retrieved 30 July 2014. Stockholm Records - 986 737-6