An omnipresent feature of the ’60s and early ’70s pop radio was the sophisticated, often elegant, pop of the legendary American songwriting team of composer Burt Bacharach and lyricist Hal David. Their music was seen as a throwback to a prerock era of popular song, flourishing during a musical landscape of British invasion, psychedelia and folk rock. Having been introduced to each other at the Brill Building in NY city in 1957, the duo went on to have a prolific 15 years, the unconventionality of Bacharach’s melodies forming a perfect fit for the eloquent romanticism of Hal David’s poetic lyrics. And in 1969, as part of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, was born the song that got the duo their only Oscar (as a duo this was their only Oscar. However Bacharach also won a second Oscar for his movie score for the same movie, and in 1981 won a third for the movie Arthur) – Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head.
The story goes that the title of the song came to Bacharach’s mind the instant he saw the bicycle scene in the movie and kept recurring whenever he saw it. Hal David tried changing the lyric to something else but it never seemed to work, and hence they fixed on Raindrops.. The pair wrote the song with Ray Stevens in mind, but he didn’t like the song and declined to sing it. Bob Dylan was also reportedly approached to sing the song but he too turned down the offer. It was around the same time that American singer B J Thomas was creating waves with his single Hooked on A Feeling (famous for its featuring of an electric sitar). Dionne Warwick, a singer who had had many successful partnerships with Bacharach-David, recommended Thomas to the duo and they chose Thomas to render Raindrops.. Apparently Thomas was getting over laryngitis when he recorded the song, giving the song a raspy quality which was instantly liked by the producers of the movie. Later on Thomas came out with a single version of the song, and by 1970 it was on top of the charts, the first #1 single of the 1970s.
One of the most prominent bands to cover Raindrops.. was the Rat Pack. Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers perform the song at each of their live concerts. The band even recorded a version inclusive of a trumpet solo by their drummer Sean Moore. Dionne Warwick collaborated with Kelis for her 2006 duets album version of the song. There have been numerous other covers of the song which we restrain ourselves from talking about. The song has also made appearances in various films, the most famous one being in Forrest Gump. Leslie Nielsen does a parody of the whole scene, complete with the song in the background, in his 1996 movie Spy Hard. The song also made its appearance in Spiderman 2.
David once described his lyrical technique as, “I search for believability, simplicity and emotional impact.” And Raindrops.. is an embodiment of this statement. And his combo with Bucharach, a classic case of lyricist and composer coming together in perfect synergy, shall ever be remembered for this work of theirs. So whenever you feel a bit down, we recommend you listen to this song. We guarantee that it will have you back in your elements in no time! Au revoir..
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