21. The weather

Posted on 28/01/2017

In lyrics the weather is often an image: ‘its raining in my heart’ ‘I cant stand the rain‘ or ‘the sun has got his hat on and he’s coming out today (back to the 1920’s for that one).

But Flanders and Swan, who wrote a series of amusing revues in the 1960’s did cover the weather among many other topics. It begins predictably enough with snow in January, sleet in February and wind in March. But then it gets worse

‘April brings the sweet spring showers/on and on for hours and hours

Farmers fear unkindly May/frost by night and hail by day

June just rains and never stops/thirty days and spoils the crops

In July the sun is hot/ is it shining?/no its not’

The months carry on being awful until December:

‘Freezing wet December, then/Bloody January again

In the recorded version Flanders then says that he hopes the song will have helped listers to plan their holidays! This was before the days of cheap flights and so most people were trapped in Britain. Probably the best bet would be to go to Scotland where occasionally there is quite good weather when its wet down south.

‘They call me the breeze’ is a charming song by JJ Cale, who was indeed a somewhat elusive man who preferred living in deserts.

The song is about him feeling the urge to move on and saying that his nickname is the ‘breeze’ on that account. ‘Blowin in the wind’ by Dylan is again a metaphor for the big changes he forecast in his songs (cf ‘the times they are a changing‘) but which did not actually happen.

In his recent (no weather forecast there) song ‘Duquesne whistle’

Dylan refers to us ‘going through ‘another no good time’ so he is presumably now rather jaundiced rather than optimistic. At that stage he was not to know he would get a Nobel prize for the visionary words of the earlier songs!

One of ‘his’ websites is topical: called ‘expecting rain’

I have now checked the idea on Google and find that almost every conceivable meteorological phenomenon is taken care of in a song: not just cloud rain and sun, but cyclones, electrical storms of all kinds as well as unlikely ones: black rain and black sunshine. I suppose they are there to describe human moods. There is an awful lot of rain, aside from the ones I cited at the start. As a metaphor for crying it features in 30 songs or more (including of course Prince’s purple variety). In terms of odd ones, i quite like ‘jump into the fog’ by the Wombats (2012). Not enough to listen to it though.

As you might imagine there are about 20 songs featuring lightning, and another 20 or so featuring the sun. I suppose sadness inspires more songs than happiness which accounts for rains, storms and hurricanes featuring more strongly than sunshine. There are still some weather phenomena that dont yet seem to have a song to them: anticyclones and blizzards dont seem to have any takers yet, so why not try them in your next song? PS (November 2017) leave anticyclones in: nobody’s done them, but thousands have done blizzards and they are mostly awful and so I have not added one in here!






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