The long-awaited monsoon season is here. And boy, what a relief it is for our parched land and thirsty vegetation. In the past two weeks, we’ve experienced an abundance of gentle rains, thundering downpours, bouncing hail, gusty winds and brilliant lightning. Our rivers are rushing, our lakes have swelled and Green Valley Park is lush with green grass again. The weather is the talk of the town.
No longer a topic in present-day songwriting, which tends to concentrate pretty much solely on relationships, partying and stretching the limits of decency, the weather used to be a common theme in song titles and lyrics.
Some oldies-but-goodies themed themselves on temperature extremes, such as the 1949 hit duet by Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercy, “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” the Beach Boys’ 1962 “Hot Fun on a Summer Night” and 1966’s “Summer in the City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful.
Some recordings focused on thunder, such as 1958’s “Thunder Road” by Robert Mitchum, Leo Sayers’ 1977 “Thunder in my Heart” and country singer Garth Brooks’ 1991 chart-topper “The Thunder Rolls.”
The 1960s and 70s saw a number of songs with lightning as their themes — Lou Christie’s “Lightning Strikes,” REO Speedwagon’s “Lightning,” Jerry Reed’s “Lightning Rod” and Santana’s “Lightning in the Sky.”
But, by a wide margin, the most weather-related theme in yesteryear songwriting has always been topics relating to rain. In just my music library alone, I have more than 400 songs which sport rain in the titles, including the No. 1 hits, “Rain Drops Keep Falling on my Head” by BJ Thomas in 1970, Johnny Nash’s 1972 “I Can See Clearly Now, The Rain Has Gone” and “I Love a Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt in 1981.
This week's question
From 1962 through the group’s dissolution in 1970, the Beatles recorded nearly 300 songs. Two of those songs had rain in the titles, 1962’s “September in the Rain” and 1966’s “Rain.”
The Fab Four’s “Rain” began with the lyrics “When the rain comes, they run and hide their heads ...”
This week’s question — What are the lyrics that follow? A) they might as well go to bed; B) they run and get their meds; C) yes, that’s what I said; or D) they might as well be dead?
If you’re the fifth caller and have the right answer, you’ll win a CD of your choice your favorite artist or genre of music.
Last week's question
Last week’s music trivia question asked if you could name the city in which the 1960s group, the Byrds, originated. The choices were: A) Los Angeles, Calif.; B) Sydney, Australia; C) Manchester, England; and D) Manitoba, Canada.
The correct answer was Los Angeles, Calif.
Notable groups that formed in the other city choices were: Sydney, Australia — the 1980s-90s hard rock group, ACDC; Manchester, England — the ’60s pop-rock group, Herman’s Hermits; and Manitoba, Canada — 1960s-70s rock group, the Guess Who.
Congratulations to Robert Smith, who has been a previous music trivia winner.
A couple of final notes
This Saturday, Payson’s Park and Rec program will present its eighth, and next to last, summer concert under the stars at Green Valley Park, with the Rim Country’s John Scott Band performing from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The local trio is touted as a “rockin’ blues band” and will be performing favorites from Stevie Ray Vaughn, B.B. King and many others.
Please remember to bring along an umbrella. Mother Nature has blessed us with abundant rain so far this monsoon season — especially the past two Saturday nights.
And last, this past week, Tommy Ramone, the last original member of the band The Ramones, died at age 65.
You may remember that all four members of the highly influential punk-rock group took Ramone as their last names. (They adopted the name Ramone, which was used by Paul McCartney to reserve hotel rooms during the Beatles’ years.)
The four-member Ramones came out of Queens in the early 1970s with limited musical skills, but by 1976, their staccato riffs and full-frontal garage rock assaults began to make their mark. The band, with their bowl haircuts, ripped jeans and less-than-polished music style, has been acknowledged by many as the inventors of punk rock.
Even though the band had limited chart success, it deeply influenced scores of musicians who would go on to form bands such as the Clash, the Sex Pistols, Nirvana and Green Day.
The Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
Rest in peace, Tommy, and goodbye forever to the Ramones.
Have a great Rim Country week.
DJ Craig – (928) 468-1482 – www.djcraiginpayson.com