Definitions

stormy weather

Stormy Weather (song)

"Stormy Weather" is a 1933 song written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. Ethel Waters first sang it at The Cotton Club night club in Harlem. It has since been covered by artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra and Clodagh Rodgers. Leo Reisman's orchestra had the biggest hit on records, although Ethel Waters recorded version also performed well.

The song tells of disappointment, as the lyrics, "Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky" show someone pining for her man to return. The weather is a metaphor for the feelings of the singer; "stormy weather since my man and I ain't together, keeps raining all the time."

Ethel Waters recording of the song in 1933 was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2003, and the Library of Congress honored the song by adding it to the National Recording Registry in 2004.

Other versions

  • Frank Sinatra recorded three studio versions of the song; the first as a single for Columbia in the 1940s, the second, in 1959 for the album No One Cares, and lastly, in 1984 for the album L.A. Is My Lady.
  • In 1952, R&B group The Five Sharps recorded "Stormy Weather" for Jubilee Records, and test pressings were made. The master was later lost (either to fire or flood; sources vary), and only three extant original pressings (all on 78 RPM) are known to exist (although original 45 RPM issues on Jubilee are still, currently 56 years later [2008], rumored to exist). In the 1960s, Jubilee released a rock-and-roll recording, by a different group, with label attribution to the Five Sharps; this version holds little interest to collectors. All known 45 RPM copies of the 1952 version bearing the Jubilee label (as well as a 1972 reissue on Bim Bam Boom records) have been bootlegged from one of the three known 78 copies (a cracked copy, whose crack is audible on all reissues). A version similar to the original Five Sharps recording was also recorded and released in the 1960s by a New York based group, the Five Sharks.
  • Judy Garland recorded a studio version of the song for her "London Sessions" with Capitol. Most notable is her live performance of the song recorded for the Grammy Award Winning Carnegie Hall Album.
  • Django Reinhardt performed this song, and it can be found on the album Keep Cool: Guitar Solos (1950-1953).
  • LaKisha Jones sang this song during her course of American Idol under the guidance of Tony Bennett.
  • Lena Horne first recorded the song in 1941 for RCA Victor. In 1943, she recorded another version of Stormy Weather for the movie of the same name (which she made while on loan to 20th Century Fox from MGM). Horne recorded the song at least five times throughout her career. Horne's version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000.
  • Industrial/hip-hop group Tackhead released a cover of the song as a 12-inch single under their Fats Comet alias in 1985.
  • Rock star Jeff Lynne (of Electric Light Orchestra fame) recorded a cover of the song on his 1990 solo album Armchair Theatre.
  • Rest Assured recorded a cover of the song in 1993 to coincide with the song's 60th birthday although somewhat different from the original due to the use of samples and a rap. It was produced by Harry Sutcliffe.
  • Reigning Sound recorded a cover of the song which opens their 2002 album Time Bomb High School.
  • Royal Crown Revue Recorded in their 1998 album "the contender", the RCR gave this little ditty a shuffle feel.
  • Keller Williams released a live version of the song on his 2005 DVD Sight.
  • Performing at Carnegie Hall, The London Palladium and The Hollywood Bowl, Martha Wainwright guested to brother, Rufus Wainwright, for his Rufus, Rufus, Rufus Does Judy, Judy, Judy concert, a recreation of Judy Garland's celebrated 1961 concert of the same venue.
  • In the first season of The Muppet Show, Wayne and Wanda (a recurring duet couple) tried to sing the song, but as with most of their attempts to perform, it ends with slapstick violence. Because copyright licensing was not available, however, the segment does not appear on the DVD release.
  • The radio program Marketplace uses "Stormy Weather" as background music when the major stock market indices are down for the day.
  • Lily Wilde recorded a cover of the song with her Jumpin' Jubilee Orchestra on her 1999 album Insect Ball.

Homage

"Can't go on:
Doctor says I got the gon.
Stormy Weather,
Can't keep my poor legs together--
Keeps running all the time!"

Further reading

Footnotes

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