The Weather Girls were the duo of Martha Wash and Izora Armstead, who stood out from other disco divas because of their voices and their size. Both honed their singing in church, and developed remarkably powerful voices. They were overweight and looked nothing like most other popular female singers (especially Diana Ross!), but that didn't deter the singer/producer Sylvester, who hired them to sing on his recordings, including the 1978 hit "Dance (Disco Heat)," which was released on Fantasy Records and made #19 in the US.
Soon after, Armstead and Wash got their own deal with Fantasy, and recorded as Two Tons O' Fun, scoring a few R&B hits before recording "It's Raining Men," prompted them to change the name of their act to The Weather Girls so it would suit the song.
Wash sang on many projects over the next several years, including songs by the groups C&C Music Factory ("Make You Sweat") and Black Box ("Strike It Up"). She was often uncredited and replaced in videos by models lip-synching her lines. She eventually sued for royalties and released a solo album under her own name. Armstead, who had more of a growl to her voice, died in 2004.
This song was specifically directed to the gay community and was quickly embraced in gay dance clubs. Like "Y.M.C.A." by The Village People, it became a gay anthem and later, a mainstream hit.
Even though the song was sung from the perspective of women, it objectified men in a way that was rarely heard in popular music. This message was not lost on gay listeners who heard it as a celebration of their culture.
This song was written by Paul Shaffer and Paul Jabara. Shaffer is David Letterman's bandleader; Jabara wrote "Last Dance" and "No More Tears" for Donna Summer. Jabara came up with the idea for the song (including the title) and asked Shaffer to work on it with him, which Shaffer was thrilled to do.
When they completed a demo of the song, Jabara offered it to Barbara Streisand and Diana Ross, but both turned it down. He then played it for Wash and Armstead, who were still recording as Two Tons O' Fun, and while Wash initially resisted, the duo agreed to record it.
It was a huge hit for The Weather Girls, who followed up with another rain-themed song, "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair," but never had another Top 40 hit. The duo split in the late '80s, but in 1992 Izora Armstead revived the act with her daughter Dynelle Rhodes taking over for Wash.
Speaking about what makes this song work in an episode of the TV series Unsung, the song's co-writer Paul Shaffer said: "It was the craziness of the concept combined with the serious conviction of Martha Wash's delivery."
Geri Halliwell, formerly a member of the Spice Girls, recorded this in 2001. Her version was used on the soundtrack to the movie Bridget Jones' Diary. When released, the single shot straight to #1 for 2 weeks. This was Halliwell's fourth #1 single in a row, and it made her the British female artist with the most #1 singles (11 in total: seven with the Spice Girls and four of her own).
Halliwell's version was her fifth single. Her new ultra-thin image in the video caused a field day for the press, who came up with all sorts of ways she had achieved this - some included her reported bulimia.
Suggestion credit: Thomas - Borehamwood, England
The video, which was directed by Gary Keys, was a low budget affair but very memorable, with lots of buff guys wearing raincoats. It didn't get played on MTV (more evidence that they resisted songs by black artists), but was very popular in Europe and has attracted millions of views on YouTube.
The video was not a pleasant experience for Martha Wash, who recalls falling onto mattresses during the shoot that were infested with bugs.
This was used on an episode of the TV show Friends when Chandler and Monica went to Las Vegas to see Chandler's dad to tell him they were getting married. Not long after they met him he sang this on stage.
Suggestion credit: Matt - Milton, PA
The song returned to the UK Top 40 in February 2014 following a social media campaign to get it back in the charts. The campaign was driven by former UKIP councillor David Silvester blaming Britain's bad weather since the turn of the year on the government's decision to legalise gay marriage.
The song's American chart placing of #46 doesn't accurately reflect its popularity. It was a #1 Dance hit and endures as a club favorite.
In 1998, Martha Wash recorded a follow-up to this song with the acclaimed drag queen RuPaul called "It's Raining Men... The Sequel."
Ken from Louisville, KyPaul Jabara - who was definitely gay - wrote the lyrics. Paul Shaffer - who is definitely straight - wrote the music and the arraignment. Shaffer said in his book (We'll Be Here For The Rest Of Our Lives) that his girlfriend at the time (who is now his wife) absolutely HATED the song. She refused to go with him to a NYC outdoor music show where the Weather Girls were to perform the song! He convinced her to go on a bike ride with him near the festival so he could at least hear the crowd's reaction. He said she was stunned when the crowd seemed to LOVE it.
Jeff from Mahwah, NjMy name is Jeff and I am the cousin of of Paul Jabara. First of all, Paul Jabara wrote this song and Paul Schaffer helped with the music.
Paul presented the song to Sony records and they turned it down - they could not understand how it could rain men. Paul got really mad and said IF IT CAN RAIN CATS AND DOGS ... IT CAN RAIN MEN. Later Sony took the song after the discos started playing it... this a true story because Paul is my cousin!
Jim from Morgantown, WvThere's a ukulele version of this on YouTube by Julia Nunes. Yes, a ukulele version! It' s worth checking out.
Rodger from Frontenac, MoThis was used in the 2010 movie Vampires Suck, when Jacob's pack enters and dances to it.
Kristin from Bessemer, AlTHE WEATHER GIRLS began as "Two Tons O' Fun", a backup group for flamboyant gay singer Sylvester, who had a disco hit in the late 70s and early 80s called, "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)"-
James from Gettysburg, PaOnce on a youth trip to the beach, somebody said "Let's all hold hands and sing a folk song", someone else suggested "How about It's Raining Men ?" LOL
Annabelle from Eugene, OrWeren't The Weather Girls technically considered a One-Hit Wonder?
Mark from Schaumburg, IlI wish there were more woman singers like Matha. Not only does she sing great, she is HOT!@!@!@! My company needs to hire some hotties like Martha.
Thomas from Borehamwood, Englandthe original recording by The Weather Girls never reached #1 but Geri Halliwell did reach #1 for 2 weeks.
Jake from San Mateo, CaMartha also re-recorded the track w/ RuPaul titled "The Sequel" Also, I read that Martha supposedly did not like Geri's version seen in the movie Bridget Jones Diary.
Phil from San Jose, CaPaul Schaffer is very talented, he even played with the Blues Brothers (no Surprise, all SNL members), but no way was he going to be part of the band in the movie. He really got Femme, in later years of Letterman, then to no surprise I found out he co wrote this song.
Mary-clare from Abbotsbury, EnglandAlways a brilliant song (I even liked Geri Helliwell's cover).
Did you know that March 10th 2005 is the 21st anniversary of the Weather Girls original entering the UK charts?
I'm an artist and have produced a piece celebrating that event - see http://www.its-raining-men.com
Pinky from Wellington, New ZealandGay anthems are all great for one reason: You can still sing them weeping drunk.
Annabelle from Eugene, OrIf it was really raining men, and somebody would walk outside in the middle of the storm, they would surely be hit hard!
Kurt from Downers Grove, IlFrom that same episode of the Simpsons--Moe: "...and I'm taking your favorite song out of the jukebox." Homer: "'It's Raining Men?'" Moe: "Yeah, not no more it ain't."
Tom from Trowbridge, EnglandAparrently, this is Homer Simpson's favourite song! In an episode, where Homer is barred from Moe's, Moe takes this out of the jukebox, throws it out the window and it hits Smithers in the face.
Shelli from Madison, WiPaul Schaffer, of Late Night With David Letterman, wrote this song.