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  1. #1
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    The story behind "it's raining men"

    I was listening to Jimmy Jam's radio show on Sirius radio and Paul Shaffer was the special guest. He talked about writing the song "It's Raining Men" with Paul Jabara for Donna Summer. Donna had recently become a born again Christian and not only did she not like the song, she was appalled by the "Hallelujah" reference. Soooo they took the song to Diana Ross and she turned it down. Then they took it to Barbara Streisand and she thought that it was a silly song. Next they took the song to Cher and she said no go. Jabara knew that they had a hit but Shaffer wasn't so sure. Jabara remembered Two Tons of Fun and the powerhouse voice of Martha Wash and reached out to them to record the song as The Weather Girls and the rest is musical history.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by glencro View Post
    I was listening to Jimmy Jam's radio show on Sirius radio and Paul Shaffer was the special guest. He talked about writing the song "It's Raining Men" with Paul Jabara for Donna Summer. Donna had recently become a born again Christian and not only did she not like the song, she was appalled by the "Hallelujah" reference. Soooo they took the song to Diana Ross and she turned it down. Then they took it to Barbara Streisand and she thought that it was a silly song. Next they took the song to Cher and she said no go. Jabara knew that they had a hit but Shaffer wasn't so sure. Jabara remembered Two Tons of Fun and the powerhouse voice of Martha Wash and reached out to them to record the song as The Weather Girls and the rest is musical history.
    Interesting; I had heard before that Donna turned the song down but I did not know about the others. Any of the mentioned would have done a good job but TToF owned it.

  3. #3
    There's a great movie to be made about Martha Wash. It could be produced as either a tragedy (respected voice but deprived of opportunity to be a nominal star) or triumph (having the admiration and respect of all who knew who she was, whether she was credited as the record's voice or not), depending on the director's point of view. I'd even like to see a documentary like Twenty Feet From Stardom.

  4. #4
    The Weather Girls defo owned "It's Raining Men"!!! I can‘t imagine it being sung by anyone else now, but it would have been interested had Diana or Donna done a version.

    I guess you can see it as... everyone knows the song, so everyone knows Martha's voice, even if they don't know it... if that makes sense

  5. #5
    I can't imagine a version of this song being sung by Barbra, Diana, Donna or Cher.

    It was made for Martha and Izora!

    As for the Martha movie, the Sylvester one should be made first. Just saying.

  6. #6
    Not to begrudge Matha but I’ve never fully understood her case as people like the Blossoms took over for the Crystals...many great voiced disco singers were unnamed and Anonymous voices but they agreed to put their voices on records. Maybe I’m missing something.

  7. #7
    the list of the ladies approached with this song was an obvious one since each maintained a dependable gay fan base and this song would've definitely pleased that front-five-rows crowd , but I think they each turned it down because they have to measure who fills the rest of those seats in the audience , and don't want to risk material too alienating .
    The Two Tons , whose fan base was about 98% gay already, were the perfect choice , they knew how to deliver the camp meets church attitude of the song without any hesitation.

    Because the song begins with them saying, "Hi ,we're the weather girls", they immediately changed their name accordingly.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 03-30-2019 at 06:46 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Not to begrudge Matha but I’ve never fully understood her case as people like the Blossoms took over for the Crystals...many great voiced disco singers were unnamed and Anonymous voices but they agreed to put their voices on records. Maybe I’m missing something.
    Like Luther with Change. Of course they agreed but those of us who lament their anonymity believe that they did so because they wouldn't have been given those songs otherwise. It's just a shame (to me) to read that a talented singer was airbrushed out of liner notes so a non-singing model or attractive but otherwise less talented front person could grace the album jacket.

    But they shouldn't be the ones complaining, IMO, and for the most part, they don't. I have the same opinion about 95% of recording artists, knowing that there are great local talents in every city that will never have the opportunity to be heard outside of clubs. It's a part of life. But I wonder how it would feel to see a concert where someone was singing my song with my voice, especially when the crowd goes nuts at the end.

  9. #9
    Now that I recall maybe a big issue was another singer lip syncing to Martha’s voice In the video.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Now that I recall maybe a big issue was another singer lip syncing to Martha’s voice In the video.
    I'm pretty sure it happened with two different bands. It's how I first became aware of her.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Oz View Post
    I'm pretty sure it happened with two different bands. It's how I first became aware of her.
    I think it was Black Box and C+C Music Factory.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    I think it was Black Box and C+C Music Factory.
    And Seduction. They used Martha like a dishrag in the industry.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    And Seduction. They used Martha like a dishrag in the industry.
    I recall a story on Entertainment Tonight when news broke that Black Box used Martha's voice and had a model lipsync. They asked the model was it really her singing. She lied and said yes, but it seemed as if she could barely speak English.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    I think it was Black Box and C+C Music Factory.
    I thought those were the two but couldn't remember for sure.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    And Seduction. They used Martha like a dishrag in the industry.
    Jeez, it was a THIRD group? I can't say that she was exploited because as was noted earlier, she knew the terms of her participation. But it makes me wonder if some of our favorite singers from the '50s and '60s would have a career in the 2000s since their voices were generally more attractive than their figures.

  16. #16
    Well she did win the lawsuit and RCA thus gave her a contract.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Oz View Post
    Jeez, it was a THIRD group? I can't say that she was exploited because as was noted earlier, she knew the terms of her participation. But it makes me wonder if some of our favorite singers from the '50s and '60s would have a career in the 2000s since their voices were generally more attractive than their figures.
    Actually, in all of these cases, Martha had no idea that her vocals would be ghosted in this way. She was contracted to do demos for the various producers, thinking she’d merely provide a guide vocal for the eventual singer. Lo and behold, her “scratch vocals” ended up as the finished product every time. The late David Cole even went so far as to manipulate the mix to make Martha’s lead vocal sound less recognizable for Seduction’s “(You’re My One and Only) True Love” and added the group’s background vocals. But when the record was released, he credited her, all right...as a background singer. And yes, she sued, successfully in most cases. And Loleatta Holloway also had to fight to get credited on Black Box's "Ride on Time" (not much more than a dub of her "Love Sensation.") This business of music, man...
    Last edited by sansradio; 04-01-2019 at 01:09 AM.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    I recall a story on Entertainment Tonight when news broke that Black Box used Martha's voice and had a model lipsync. They asked the model was it really her singing. She lied and said yes, but it seemed as if she could barely speak English.
    Yep, Katrin's English was rougher than Milli Vanilli's.

    I remember Martha being on "Arsenio" after this whole affair. He asked her if Katrin could actually sing; Martha diplomatically said, "That has been up for debate." The crowd roared.

  19. #19
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    The demo for this song was originally recorded by Leata Galloway. Paul Jabara wanted to include the song on his 1983 Columbia release "Paul Jabara and Friends featuring The Weather Girls, Leata Galloway an up and coming young star named Whitney Houston. Leata was not that crazy about the song and passed on the offer. The album did include the outstanding ballad "What's Become of Love" sung by Galloway and also written by Jabara.

  20. #20
    Didn’t Mary Wilson do a song with him?

  21. #21
    But the situation is not really any different that The Andantes providing Diana Ross backup vocals for 'Supremes' records, then watching them swish 'n sway on national tv, lip syncing said vocals. Glad for Martha that she was ultimately recognized. It was quite a big deal back then.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Didn’t Mary Wilson do a song with him?
    don't know about that Luke, but he did write a song with Diana Ross.

    It's rather, uh .......... well, here it is:


  23. #23
    Katrin Quinol was already lipsyncing to Loleatta Holloway's vocals before Martha Wash hopped on the project (Loleatta claimed that Wash undercut her while Holloway was negotiating with Black Box to record the album). What made Martha think that things would be any different for her?

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    But the situation is not really any different that The Andantes providing Diana Ross backup vocals for 'Supremes' records, then watching them swish 'n sway on national tv, lip syncing said vocals. Glad for Martha that she was ultimately recognized. It was quite a big deal back then.
    I beg to differ. The difference is that The Andantes were in on the plan from Jump Street, whereas Martha and others were blindsided and used.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    don't know about that Luke, but he did write a song with Diana Ross.

    It's rather, uh .......... well, here it is:

    My ears are bleeding. I'd thank you for posting but telling such huge lie so close to Easter might get me in trouble.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Didn’t Mary Wilson do a song with him?
    Mary was featured on a track from this Paul Jabara LP: De La Noche: The True Story - A Poperetta [featuring Leata Galloway] (CBS Records, 1986)

    I can't remember the story of the album but the last song had many famous singers doing the background. Vocals [Girls] – Beverly D'Angelo, Diva Gray, Donna Summer, Maggie Swank, Mary Wilson, Millie Whiteside, Myno Jackson, Pattie Brooks. It was a concept album with a story but it was not one of Paul's better efforts.

  27. #27
    Thanks thommg

  28. #28
    Originally Posted by Jerry Oz
    My ears are bleeding. I'd thank you for posting but telling such huge lie so close to Easter might get me in trouble.
    Ha Ha! Paul Jabara was definitely hit and miss , with a lot of misses! , still I always admired his exuberance . He was fortunate to have connected with Casablanca who gave him carte blanche to explore his creativity .
    And then connecting with Bob Esty to tell his stories with those intricate arrangements as heard on LAST DANCE. Esty did a lot of great dramatic work on songs like MACARTHUR PARK and TAKE ME HOME.

    Here's ITS RAINING MEN instrumental , Bob Esty's contribution:

    Last edited by Boogiedown; 04-03-2019 at 12:43 PM.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    don't know about that Luke, but he did write a song with Diana Ross.

    It's rather, uh .......... well, here it is:

    Whoa, that was pretty bad..it's interesting. As much as I absolutely LOVED Two Tons of Fun I wasn't as big on The Weather Girls. They went from some soulful sangin sisters to a very campy fly by night type of group.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by glencro View Post
    Whoa, that was pretty bad..it's interesting. As much as I absolutely LOVED Two Tons of Fun I wasn't as big on The Weather Girls. They went from some soulful sangin sisters to a very campy fly by night type of group.
    I tend to agree with this , but maybe being a one hit wonder .... even with a song like this ... is better than being no hit wonders. Hopefully they had some fun during this period .

    I recall being young and new to San Francisco , back when Polk Street was the hot zone , mid-seventies, and when wandering the street at night, probably on the way to Buzbys, at one point you could hear Sylvester and The Two Tons belting it out from a rather modest insignificant club. If you stood just right on the sidewalk , you could watch them between the curtains at the entrance . The door guy would let you watch for five minutes before he'd tell you you need to move on.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 04-04-2019 at 12:41 PM.

  31. #31
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    I tend to agree with this , but maybe being a one hit wonder .... even with a song like this ... is better than being no hit wonders. Hopefully they had some fun during this period .

    I recall being young and new to San Francisco , back when Polk Street was the hot zone , mid-seventies, and when wandering the street at night, probably on the way to Buzbys, at one point you could hear Sylvester and The Two Tons belting it out from a rather modest insignificant club. If you stood just right on the sidewalk , you could watch them between the curtains at the entrance . The door guy would let you watch for five minutes before he'd tell you you need to move on.
    Now that's a memory that I would probably sacrifice a finger or two to have. I'm sure that was nothing less than amazing to experience.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by glencro View Post
    Now that's a memory that I would probably sacrifice a finger or two to have. I'm sure that was nothing less than amazing to experience.
    A great memory for sure. Besides the singing , there was a lot of banter, on stage and with the audience. Sylvester was becoming a popular part of the rapidly erupting gay scene . I was coming of age just as the scene was; I didn't realize I was witnessing a new world unfolding. (I just sort of assumed it was there waiting for me . lol!) Polk street was something else, blocks long . Each intersection it seemed had at least one bar , likely two, plus many others scattered mid-block along the way. Some like THE N TOUCH were converting to dance clubs , "discos" , with BUZBYS being ahead of the pack. THE CINCH was the lone country bar. The PS was a classic formal restaurant , gay owned , gay clientele , handsome waiters . It would soon open a sister restaurant around the corner , The Casa De Crystal for the brunch crowd.
    The playhouse on POLK and O'FARREL was featuring a hot musical called THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW and The Gramophone Record store was adjusting their show tunes and classical sections to make room for this growing new craze: 12" disco singles.
    Very fun, night and day, to a wide-eyed twenty year old.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 04-10-2019 at 01:09 PM.

  33. #33
    Here's Bob Esty getting into one of his other works:




  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by glencro View Post
    Whoa, that was pretty bad..it's interesting. As much as I absolutely LOVED Two Tons of Fun I wasn't as big on The Weather Girls. They went from some soulful sangin sisters to a very campy fly by night type of group.
    True. Still love 'Just Us'

  35. #35
    I love that song so much. I think that was my first real introduction to CAMP as a kid. Of course, I wasn't even born when they recorded and released this (I was born a year afterwards, in 1984) but for this song to be a mainstream hit in the midst of the AIDS crisis and the so-called "conservative" early '80s was a milestone within itself. An anthem for horny women and gay men alike haha

    What I always wondered though is who was the whistle voiced singer at the end of the song? Was it Martha being overdubbed?

    Sylvester knew what he was doing when he hired Martha and Izora.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Oz View Post
    There's a great movie to be made about Martha Wash. It could be produced as either a tragedy (respected voice but deprived of opportunity to be a nominal star) or triumph (having the admiration and respect of all who knew who she was, whether she was credited as the record's voice or not), depending on the director's point of view. I'd even like to see a documentary like Twenty Feet From Stardom.
    Even better, Martha Wash was given proper recognition as her own star, on Unsung.

  37. #37
    Yeah, these days, Martha Wash is looked on as a dance legend and rightfully so. She's been one of the queens of the gay community since the Two Tons days backing Sylvester in the late 70s.

    Anyway, I loved her background vocals on Sylvester's cover of "I Think I've Found Strength in You" (which he changed to "I've Found Strength in You"):



    I'd argue Sylvester's and the Two Tons' version was a gospel/inspirational cover. I like to see B.Slade cover this actually.
    Last edited by midnightman; 05-25-2019 at 01:16 PM.

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