I Can’t Stand the Rain by Ann Peebles 1973

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I Can't Stand the Rain by Ann Peebles 1973
I Can’t Stand the Rain by Ann Peebles 1973

I Can’t Stand the Rain” is a song originally recorded by Ann Peebles in 1973, and written by Peebles, Don Bryant, and Bernard “Bernie” Miller. Other hit versions were later recorded by Eruption and Tina Turner.

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The song was written by Peebles, her partner (and later husband) Don Bryant, and DJ Bernard “Bernie” Miller in 1973. One evening in Memphis in 1973, soul singer Ann Peebles was meeting friends, including her partner, Hi Records staff writer Don Bryant, to go to a concert. Just as they were about to set off, the heavens opened and Peebles snapped: “I can’t stand the rain.”

As a professional songwriter in constant need of new material, Bryant was used to plucking resonant phrases out of the air and he liked the idea of reacting against recent R&B hits that celebrated bad weather, such as the Dramatics’ “In the Rain” and Love Unlimited’s “Walking in the Rain (With the One I Love)”. So he sat down at the piano and started riffing on the theme, weaving in ideas from Peebles and local DJ Bernie Miller. The song was finished that night and presented the next morning to Hi’s studio maestro, Willie Mitchell, who used a brand new gadget, the electric timbale, to create the song’s distinctive raindrop riff. It really was that easy. “We didn’t go to the concert,” Bryant remembers. “We forgot about the concert.”

Ann Peebles said: “At first, we had the timbales all the way through the song but as we played the tape, Willie Mitchell said ‘what about if the timbales were in front before anything else comes in?’. So we did that and when we listened back I said ‘I love it, let’s do that’.”

Produced by Willie Mitchell, the song became Peebles’ biggest hit when, in 1973, it reached #38 on the US Pop Chart and #6 on the R&B/Black Chart; it also reached #41 on the UK singles chart in April 1974. The organ is played by Charles Hodges. It was one of John Lennon’s favorite songs and in a Billboard magazine article he commented, “It’s the best song ever.” Ian Dury made this song one of his choices when he was the guest for BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in December 1996.

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