Ann Peebles, the petite lady with the big voice, propagated the Memphis Soul sound. Best known for her international hit “I Can’t Stand The Rain”, which has been covered by artists ranging from Humble Pie to Seal. Cited as an influence by the likes of Bonnie Rait and Tina Turner, Peebles’ soulful voice is a living legacy.
So, how did “I Can’t Stand The Rain” come about?
Ann Peebles was meeting friends, including her partner, Hi Records staff writer Don Bryant, to go to a concert one evening in 1973. Upon setting off, the heavens opened and the rain poured. Peebles sniped “I can’t stand the rain.” As a professional songwriter, Bryant was used to finding inspiration in every day life. Don liked the idea of reacting against recent R&B hits that celebrated rain such as Love Unlimited’s Walking in the Rain (With the One I Love).
Don started riffing on the piano, and intertwined ideas from Peebles and local DJ Bernie Miller. The song was finished that night. The following morning, Hi Records’ studio maestro, Willie Mitchell used a brand new gadget, the electric timbale, to create the track’s distinctive raindrop riff. Bryant recalls “we forgot about the concert.”
Missy Elliott’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” samples Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand The Rain”: