To the Stars: Sarah Brightman – “Rhythm of the Rain”

Sarah Brightman’s “Rhythm of the Rain” follows “Him” as yet another 1980s release. The single came out after she’d appeared in Cats and sang in Nightingale, of course, but this is certainly a call back to her earlier Hot Gossip days. It’s important to remember that all of this stuff is taking place over the span of just a few years and none of it is overly out of left field, so to speak.

“Rhythm of the Rain” is actually a guilty pleasure of mine. The song is a classic pop tune originally written by John Claude Gummoe of San Diego’s The Cascades. This was their big hit from 1962. It topped the Easy Listening charts in the United States for a couple of weeks in 1963 and would go on to be covered by a pile of diverse artists, including quite a few from Southeast Asia.

Brightman’s version is straightforward but for a couple of things. First, feel free to stare at the cover for a while…

The “synthesized melodic raindrops” are pretty special, although they do go absolutely bonkers toward the end of the song. Brightman’s voice sounds good over them and she ventures into her upper registry, delectably singing the melody and blending nicely with the other instruments.

A saxophone solo provided by Gary Barnacle, an absolutely legendary session player who’s played with everyone from The Clash to Kylie Minogue, gives the song a nice touch. But even he can’t sail above the wonky raindrops at the end, so he simply drifts off and lets Sarah sing it like a champ.

“Rhythm of the Rain” comes produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, serving as yet another foundational moment in Brightman’s earlier career.

There’s a B-side called “Action Man” that is, without a doubt, a hell of a song. It’s more like the Hot Gossip/space stuff than “Rhythm of the Rain” and more of an out-there tune, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t fun.

Once again, the song is laced with a bunch of sexual innuendo and once again Brightman gives the material plenty of cheek as she looks for danger with a total stranger.

Also worth mentioning here is the video for “Rhythm of the Rain,” as you can see below. This is some good stuff, with Brightman getting soaked by the rain and dancing around with what looks to be a biker gang. There’s some good old-fashioned writhing going on, too, but those freeze-frames are really distracting and unnecessary.

This is perhaps Brightman’s last stop before riding off fully on the Webber train, so to speak. Up next is the musical Song and Dance, a pretty unique bit of work in its own right. We’ll get into that one shortly.


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