This ballad about weathering the storms in a relationship was written and produced by Jimmy Jam
and Terry Lewis, who previously worked with New Edition on the song "Helplessly In Love" for the 1987 movie Dragnet
, starring Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd.
Bobby Brown left the group in 1986 and "Can't Stand the Rain" was carefully crafted to prove that newcomer Johnny Gill was worthy as his replacement. Jimmy Jam explained: "We wanted to have a song that introduced Johnny Gill as part of the New Edition, and then have Ralph [Tresvant], who was the familiar voice, take the song home, and also use Ricky [Bell], who at the time hadn't done a lot of lead vocals. We even used Michael Bivins on a little piece where he says, 'Come on baby, let's go get wet.' So we tried to utilize all the guys in the group and introduce Johnny Gill. We wanted to have a song in the mode of the Stylistics' 'You Make Me Feel Brand New,' where the low voice comes in and then the high voice takes over."