This steamy heartbreaker is about a woman who can't stand the sound of rain against her window, since it reminds her of her lost love (note the double meaning of window pane/pain in the lyric).
The African American singer-songwriter Ann Peebles wrote the song with her husband, Don Bryant, and the radio broadcaster Bernard "Bernie" Miller. The number originated from an offhand comment made by the singer when the threesome were preparing to head out to a Blues show one evening and it began tipping down with rain. "It was pouring outside and I just said, I can't stand this rain," recalled Peebles to Mojo magazine March 2014. "And I think it was Don who perked up: 'That's a good title.' We sat down and began to write. We started writing and forgot all about the rain."
The dramatic raindrop intro was provided by an electronic timbale, which was newly installed in the studio. It was an unusual choice, as Pop songs generally evoked rain via pizzicato violins in those days.
A disco version of this song was an international hit for Eruption in 1978. Eruption was a British-based American R&B act who were taken under the wing of Boney M's producer Frank Farian. He signed the group with Germany-based Hansa Records in 1977 and they covered this song for their first album. It became the group's biggest hit, peaking at #18 in the US and #5 in the UK.
Tina Turner recorded the song for her 1984 Private Dancer album. Released as a single, it found minor success in the US and UK, but sold well in continental Europe, reaching the Top 10 in Germany and France.
This was one of John Lennon's favorite tunes. In a Billboard magazine article he commented, "It's the best song ever."
Ann Peebles recorded the song at the old Royal Movie Theater in Memphis with production by Willie Mitchell. Organist Charles Hodges told Uncut magazine: "I always like to really learn a song, hear the lyrics, see if I can't put a little church on the organ. I started off playing chord patterns, but it wasn't doing it for me. I said to Willie, 'Count it off again.' I was thinking about the raindrops. So the organ started off with the chords, and then there is [sings the high, two-note organ part] - the raindrops! Willie counted us again and after the 1st 10 or 12 bars we knew we had it. The way we all tied everything in, it was like magic."