The month of April, traditionally a rainy period, gives way to May, when flowers will bloom because of the water provided to them by the April rains. The proverb, “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers,” was first recorded in 1886. The shorter version in the headline above is part of a poem written in 1610 and provides a common expression in English-speaking countries around this time of year.
I love a rainy day! There’s something wholesome about a refreshing rain which washes everything clean. And I enjoy the way nearly everyone scurries about trying to avoid getting wet and the humorous scenes of people struggling with their umbrellas. No one lingers outside in the rain so the world seems less crowded and more at peace.
Now I’m not ready to join a cast of Singin’ in the Rain, but there are feelings of joy and security as one watches a steady downpour from the shelter of home, office and even a vehicle. I love a good thunderstorm, too, although our dogs would disagree strongly if they had the courage to come out from under a table or away from my wife and me amidst the flashing lightening and booming thunder.
Many movies contain music written about rain. There’s my favorite, the 1952 musical mentioned above starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Cyd Chrisse. I love the words sung by Kelly, “What a glorious feeling/And I’m happy again. I’m laughing at clouds so dark, up above/The sun’s in my heart/And I’m ready for love.” Perhaps the most popular musical was the 1964 film, My Fair Lady. After several entertaining song sequences, Eliza (Audrey Hepburn) and Professor Higgins (Rex Harrison) conquer her pronunciation problems, and, celebrate with a dance to “The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly on the Plain.”
B.J. Thomas wrote, “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” made popular in 1969 as the theme for the film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. In a twist on typical rain songs, it speaks about the inability of the rain to douse faith in the return of happiness.
“Too Much Rain” is a song by Paul McCartney. It was inspired by the theme to the 1936 film Modern Times, written by Charlie Chaplin and commonly known as “Smile.” The lyrics of McCartney’s song concern hope in the face of adversity (“Laugh when your eyes are burning/Smile when your heart is filled with pain…”).
Perhaps all these remembrances about rain are leading you to insert the popular English nursery rhyme, “Rain, rain go away/Come again another day.” Or, lead you to side with The Carpenters’ 1971 song lyrics, “Rainy Days and Mondays/Always get me down.”
Other popular songs about rain — best listened to with the patter of raindrops on your window pane — include: Brook Benton’s “Rainy Night in Georgia” (1970) in which he states, “I feel like it’s rainin’ all over the world” and the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit, “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” (1970). The latter song was used as the theme for the 1978 film Who’ll Stop the Rain starring Nick Nolte as a Vietnam veteran.
John Lennon explained that the Beatles’ “Rain” (1966) concerns “people moaning about the weather all the time.” In Soul Singer Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand the Rain” (1973) she states that rain does have the ability to usher in painful memories. And one of Prince’s signature songs, “Purple Rain” (1984) states, “I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain.”
Does all of this mean that “April showers bring May flowers?” Or, perhaps more accurately, “Warm temperatures in April bring May flowers”? (But that doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?) And remember, the occurrence of “false springs” — warm spells that trigger flowering but are followed by a hard frost — mean early flowers might die.
To sum up, many people find rain an inconvenience, an annoyance or a stimulus to cast them into a melancholy mood. Others welcome the rain experience while sleeping, studying or relaxing – indoors, of course.