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Arthur Freed was originally inspired to write the lyrics for this when he saw from his Seattle sheet music shop a man saturated by rain dancing past his shop window. Nacio Herb Brown wrote the music to this. It debuted in one of the first musical sound films, Hollywood Revue 1929, in which Cliff Edwards performed the song. Some years later, Arthur Freed, now a producer for MGM, wanted to increase the revenue from his old lyrics so he commissioned Betty Comden and Adolphe Green to construct a musical around his songs, which became the film Singin' In The Rain. Gene Kelly, who was sick with a cold, performed this famous rain drenched dance number in the movie over 2 days while struggling with a fever of 103 degrees. The rain was made up of a blend of water and milk to make sure it showed up on camera. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
In 2005 a big beat version by electronic act Mint Royale peaked at #20 in the UK thanks to its use in a Gene Kelly cgi-enhanced TV advertisement for Volkswagen Golf. It returned to the UK Top 30 in 2008 as a result of 14-year-old George Sampson winning the talent show Britain's Got Talent with a recreation of the dance routine used in the ad. To the surprise of many chart-watchers, in its second week on the chart it made a Gene Kelly-like leap all the way to the top position.
In 1971, the Gene Kelly recording of this song got another outing when it was played over the closing credits of Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. Earlier in the film, Malcolm McDowell hummed the tune as he and his colleagues carried out a robbery, assault and rape.
John Lee Hooker
Into the vaults for Bruce Pollock's 1984 conversation with the esteemed Bluesman. Hooker talks about transforming a Tony Bennett classic and why you don't have to be sad and lonely to write The Blues.
Gary Louris of The Jayhawks
The Jayhawks' song "Big Star" has special meaning to Gary, who explains how longevity and inspiration have trumped adulation.