Saturday, January 3, 1970

“Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” hit #1

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

B.J. Thomas

Writer(s): Burt Bacharach, Hal David (see lyrics here)

Released: October 1969

First Charted: November 1, 1969

Peak: 14 US, 12 CB, 13 HR, 17 AC, 38 UK, 13 CN, 20 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.1 UK, 3.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, -- video, 53.63 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The night before B.J. Thomas was scheduled to record “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” his doctor told him he couldn’t use his voice for two weeks because of laryngitis. Thomas pleaded that he was supposed to work on a song for the Paul Newman movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the doctor gave him some medicine to keep his throat lubricated. Thomas recorded five takes of the song before Burt Bachrach, one of the song’s writers and the producer, was satisfied. Thomas says his throat couldn’t have handled one more take. An executive from the movie company congratulated Thomas on the decision to use a raspy singing voice that made him sound like Paul Newman. FB The version released as a single, however, was recorded eight weeks later and featured a horn solo at the end. SF

Rumor suggests Bob Dylan was originally asked to record the song, but Bachrach denies that. He did, however, ask Ray Stevens, who was best known for novelty songs and decided against it. He reportedly didn’t like the movie. ST Dionne Warwick, who’d worked extensively with Bachrach and co-songwriter Hal David, was the one who suggested Thomas. They were signed to the same label. FB

The song was used during a scene when Paul Newman is riding a bicycle to entertain his girlfriend. Bacharach convinced director George Roy Hill that the scene needed a pop song with a vocal. ST Lyrically, the song “describes somebody who overcomes his troubles and worries by realizing that ‘it won’t be long ‘till happiness steps up to greet me.’” WK

As the first #1 song of the 1970s, “Raindrops” set a tone with its “unhurred, carefully orchestrated soft-rock amble” ST which would dominated the charts through the first half of the ‘70s. ST When “Raindrops” won the Oscar for Best Original Song, it was only the second time in the rock era that a song which topped the Billboard Hot 100 won an Oscar. FB The other was the Four Aces’ “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” in 1955.


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for B.J. Thomas
  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 266.
  • SF Songfacts
  • ST StereogumThe Number Ones” by Tom Breihan
  • WK Wikipedia

First posted 3/30/2022.

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