Sunshine, Blue Skies…Please Go Away!

 

“I Wish It Would Rain,” arguably the most morose Temptations song, was written by the recently departed Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, with lyrics provided by Roger Penzabene. Distraught after finding out his wife was cheating on him, Penzabene wrote of a man who’s locked himself inside, and hopes that “raindrops will hide my tears and no one will ever know that I’m crying when I go outside.” It was the #1 R&B single for three weeks in February and March of 1968. Sadly, Penzabene did not get to enjoy the success of the single, as he commit suicide on New Year’s Eve that year, apparently never able to overcome the end of his marriage.

The Temps version of the song, under the technical prowess of Whitfield, is a feat of production, replete with sound effects of birds flying in the sunny, torturous skies. 

I Wish It Would Rain- The Temptations

The Cougars, a Toronto group of Jamaican transplants in the late 1960s, did an amazing version of “I Wish It Would Rain,” which in my mind trumps the original, with a great organ intro and bass drum heartbeat plip-plopping like raindrops.

I Wish It Would Rain- The Cougars

In 1972, New Orleans gospel singer-turned-secular soulman Johnny Adams released a single of “I Wish It Would Rain,” which became a favorite on DJ John Peel’s radio show. I was working in a music store in New Orleans when Adams died at the age of 66. Though he had brief national success in 1959, with the single “I Won’t Cry” with Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack on the farfisa organ, he was much more successful on the local level. I remember many mourners buying his music after he died on cancer in 1998, his family burdened with medical bills, due to him being uninsured. 

I Wish It Would Rain- Johnny Adams

And from a female perspective, we have the inimitable Gladys Knight and The Pips taking a stab at the song. She wails on this one more than usual.

I Wish It Would Rain- Gladys Knight & The Pips

It’s a shame the Temps are lip-syncing here, but at least we get to see their fantastic moves.

There are more versions of the song, including a version by Marvin Gaye that’s the b-side to “Let’s Get It On,” but they’re lackluster compared to these.

6 responses to “Sunshine, Blue Skies…Please Go Away!

  1. Just discovered your blog after seeing your comment on Echoes In The Wind. Great stuff.

    I Wish It Would Rain and Since I Lost My Baby are having it out for the top spot of my Temptations favourites. And that, of course, amid some heavy competition. I’m looking forward to hearing the covers you posted.

  2. Just noticed your blog as well while goggling for more info on Johnny Adams great version of this song. The blog looks great! W.

  3. Jimmy Riley’s reggae Cover, backed by Sly & Robbie, sounds very similar to the Tempt’s original version…for me the best cover of this wonderful song!

  4. For more information on the book about The Johnny Adams Story

    and upcoming documentary, please contact, Judy Adams, Johnny

    Adams’ widow at info@johnnyadamsblues.org

  5. Musically, “I Wish It Would Rain” is a sequel to “My Girl.” The bass and the string arrangement echo those in “My Girl,” and the second line of the song goes out of the way to use the words “my girl”

    “My girl has found another, and gone away.”

  6. They were singing live was not lip synced

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