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Rainy Days And Mondays by Carpenters

Album: CarpentersReleased: 1971Charted:
2
63
  • Paul Williams wrote this with Roger Nichols. It was an early effort for the duo, who went on to write hits for Three Dog Night and separately wrote popular TV themes: Williams for The Love Boat and Nichols for Hart To Hart. Says Williams: "As I examine my psyche, when I was an out-of-work actor, I had a movie called The Chase. I wasn't even writing songs yet. I was an actor before I was a songwriter. I did a movie called The Loved One with Jonathan Winters, then two years later I got another movie just like that, called The Chase. I worked three months on it, I think. My mom was a little widow lady living in Denver. And I brought her out to live with me. I said, 'Mom, you're never going to have to work again. This movie's going to really make me, it's going to be the big break I've been waiting for. My career as an actor is gonna just fly.' The movie came out and I'm not in it. I've got two lines, I think, the way it turned out. Big movie starring Marlon Brando, Robert Redford, Jane Fonda, Robert Duvall, huge film. So I worked on it, but I've got a little, really small part. So the career didn't take off, eventually the phone stopped ringing, eventually they took the phone out, eventually Mom got a job.

    So I'd stay up all night, I'd started to plunk out writing songs. My mother would get up in the morning, and she's like, 'Don't worry, my son, God has a plan.' And she'd talk to herself, she'd mumble. And she'd walk away, 'oh jesus, I hope so...' I'd go, 'Mom, what's the matter?' She'd say, 'You wouldn't understand. I'm just feeling old. Just feeling old.' So she'd talk to herself. So I think that's probably where, 'Talking to myself and feeling old' came from, because she would jabber to herself, and whenever you'd ask her she'd say, 'I'm just feeling old today. I'm not sad, I'm just feeling old.'"
  • Sometimes song lyrics are written on the fly, and that was the case with a line in this song. Says Williams: "On 'Rainy Days And Mondays' Chuck Kay, who was head of publishing at A&M, said, 'That's a perfect song for The 5th Dimension, let's play it for them.' I said, 'Well, there are a couple of lines that aren't done yet.' He said, 'You'll finish it in the car.' So in the car going over there, I came up with a fill line, which was 'What I've got they used to call the blues.' I didn't have that line done yet, so I wrote it as just a quick fill line, because I wanted to mention the blues, but it was such a hackneyed expression, 'I've got the blues.' So I just wrote, 'What I've got they used to call the blues.' And it actually became my favorite line in the song. I think it's the best line in the song. I met Johnny Mercer once at A&M Records, and he sat down and I introduced myself, 'Paul Williams,' and he shook my hand. And he walked back into the studio where he was mixing, then he stuck his head back out into the hall and he went, 'Paul Williams, 'what I've got they used to call the blues,' that Paul Williams?' I said, 'Yes, sir.' It was funny. It was one of the great moments of my life, to meet Johnny Mercer, who I think was the lyricist's lyricist."
  • The 5th Dimension passed on this song, but the Carpenters picked it up, giving them their second hit written by Williams and Nichols, who also wrote "We've Only Just Begun." William's acting career took off, as he landed roles in Battle For The Planet Of The Apes and Smokey And The Bandit. He also appeared in The Muppet Movie and wrote songs for the film, including the classic "Rainbow Connection." (Check out our interview with Paul Williams.)
  • The actress Emmy Rossum covered this on her 2007 debut album Inside Out. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Amalia - Barranquilla, Columbia
  • Apparently, this song is the antithesis to AC/DC. In a 2014 commercial for the Chevy Colorado pickup truck, "Rainy Days And Mondays" plays as a guy gets out of his humdrum sedan and heads for work. When he crosses paths with a more dynamic looking fellow, the song changes to "Back In Black" as we see our hero enter his truck.
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Comments: 13

On July 20th 1971, the Carpenters performed "Rainy Days and Mondays" on their own NBC-TV summer replacement program 'Make Your Own Kind of Music"...
At the time the song was at #11 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; a little under five weeks earlier on June 13th it had peaked at #2 {See 2nd post below}...
And on May 23rd, 1971 it reached #1 {for 4 weeks} on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart; it was the 2nd of three #1s that the duo had on the 'Adult' chart during 1971, the other two were "For All We Know" {for 3 weeks} and "Superstar" {for 2 weeks}...
Exact one year earlier on July 20th, 1970 the duo were guest bachelor & bachelorette on the ABC-TV program 'The Dating Game'.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
I had a music teacher in the 7th grade who grew up with Karen Carpenter. One week we had music appreciation for mid year grades. Each student had to pick an artist that influenced them. One classmate did it on The Carpenters. Another classmate made an ignorant remark about this and the teacher burst into tears and left for the entire class. I lived with my mother at the time who suffered from MS and was not very mobile as she was confined to a wheel chair. Her joy was me giving her the lowdown on every class. When I told her of the incident she began to cry as well. My mother had the record and we put it on. I though young grasped the emotion as well as the tragic "gone too soon" impact of a short life with so much talent. My mother died in 2006 and this songs brings those emotions. We love and miss her.Jeff - Kingston, Tn
On May 9th, 1971, "Rainy Days and Mondays" by the Carpenters entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #46; and on June 13th it peaked at #2 (for 2 weeks) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 7 of those 12 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
It reached #1 (for 4 weeks) on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
The two weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for both those weeks was "It's Too Late" by Carole King...
The duo's next two releases would also reached #2 for two weeks; "Superstar" and "Hurting Each Other"...
R.I.P. Ms. Carpenter (1950 - 1983).
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
The harmonica in this song is played by Tommy Morris, who also did - among many others - the theme from Sanford and Son.Heidi - Frankfurt, Germany
One of my favorite Carpenters song. It just shows how talented Karen was and the secret pain she had really seems to find a way to appear in her voice during the song.Kent - Greensburg, Pa
Karen Carpenter was a beautiful lady with lots of talent. How did she lose her way?Jim - West Palm Beach, Fl
You know, the more I think about it, the more I think this song is about having a bad hair day! You know: "Nothing is really wrong, Feelin' like I don't belong" sort of sentiment. In my view, this is one of the Carpenters' best recordings.Ted - Phoenix, Az
To steal Guy in Woodinville's comment, "This shows Karen at her melancholy best, which is in a class all by itself (herself)."Jonathan - Lowell, Ma
Impressive , wonderful ,Powerful , A Perfect Song and Perfectly Executed By Karen and RichardRichard - Norfolk, Va
One Of Their Very Best & One of Karen's Finest!Tom - Colton, Ca
Great song. The lyric "what I've got, they used to call the blues" is classic!Richard - Talladega, Al
Lalah, I don't know how a 13-year-old could relate to " Talking to myself and feeling old." ;-) This shows Karen at her melancholy best, which is in a class all by herself. Love the Johnny Mercer story!! Give me shivers just think of the moment for Paul.Guy - Woodinville, Wa
Oh goody; I'm first! This was the perfect song to be age 13 to. "Hanging around, nothing to do but frown. Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down." I think I had Karen Carpenter's voice repeating that phrase in the background until I turned 15. RIP, Karen.Lalah - Wasilla, Ak
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