Stormy Weather

Album: Stormy Weather: The Legendary Lena (1941-1958) (1943)
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  • Lyrics
  • This pop standard was written in 1933 by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Ted Koehler. It was first sung by Ethel Waters under the title of "Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin' All The Time)" at the Cotton Club in Harlem. "When I got out there in the middle of the Cotton Club floor," Waters recalled. "I was singing the story of my misery and confusion ... the story of the wrongs and outrages done to me by people I had loved and trusted ... I sang 'Stormy Weather' from the depths of my private hell in which I was being crushed and suffocated."

    The song is built around a classic weather metaphor, as the singer pines for her absent man: "Stormy weather since my man and I ain't together, keeps raining all the time." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Lena Horne's version of the song is probably the best-known recording of this standard and became her signature tune. She originally sang it in 1941 for RCA Victor, but in 1943 the African American singer re-recorded it for the soundtrack of Stormy Weather, a movie musical loosely based on a life of its main star, the dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. Horne played his invented love interest, a singer named Selina Rogers.
  • Unsurprisingly, this song is much loved by torch singers. Noteworthy cover versions have been recorded by Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday, among many others.
  • The first line of Crowded House's 1991 hit single "Weather With You" contains a mention of this song: "Walking 'round the room singing 'Stormy Weather.'"
  • The music of the song is played on the piano in the 1950 film All About Eve at the party when Margo is going upstairs.
  • Lena Horne's version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000 and Ethel Waters' recording three years later.
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