Written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, this pledge of romantic devotion made its debut as a duet in the 1946 stage musical St. Louis Woman, where it was introduced by Ruby Hill and Harold Nicholas. Arlen was brainstorming ideas on the piano when inspiration struck Mercer. According to Michael Feinstein's American Songbook, the lyricist exclaimed, "I'm gonna love you like nobody loved you..." and Arlen quipped, "Come hell or high water." Mercer replied, "Of course, why didn't I think of that? 'Come rain or come shine,'" and the songwriting duo finished the ballad that night. The singer promises that no matter what obstacles arise in the relationship, she'll stand by her man.
Margaret Whiting was one of many artists to record the song in 1946. Others include Sy Oliver (with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra), Dinah Shore, and a duet by Helen Forrest and Dick Haymes that charted at #23. Whiting's version, with the Paul Weston Orchestra, peaked at #17.
In the ensuing decades, it became a hot jazz standard with covers from Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, Jo Stafford, Frank Sinatra (who recorded it three times), Bobby Darin, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and many more. In 2000, Eric Clapton recorded it with B.B. King for their collaborative blues album Riding with the King.
This was used in several movies. Ray Charles' version plays during the opening credits of the 1983 Martin Scorsese film The King of Comedy, and Sandra Bernhard sings it later in the movie. Bette Midler recorded it for her 1991 musical comedy For the Boys, and Don Henley sang it for the 1995 soundtrack to Leaving Las Vegas.
Rose Marie sang this on the 1962 Dick Van Dyke Show episode "The Secret Life of Buddy and Sally." The song was also featured on the TV shows Thirtysomething, Doogie Howser, M.D. (sung by Neil Patrick Harris), Dawson's Creek, and Gotham. Roseanne Barr (yes, Roseanne Barr) sang it on the 3rd Rock From The Sun episode "Fun With Dick and Janet: Part I" in 1997.