Friday, July 27, 1979

50 years ago: “Singin’ in the Rain” charted for the first time

Singin’ in the Rain

Cliff Edwards

Writer(s): Nacio Herb Brown (music), Arthur Freed (lyrics) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: July 27, 1929

Peak: 3 GA, 13 US (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

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

Singin’ in the Rain

Gene Kelly

Released: May 27, 1952 (movie)

Peak: 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 37.55 video, 24.0 streaming

Awards (Edwards):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Kelly):

About the Song:

Arthur Freed was inspired to write “Singin’ in the Rain” when he saw a man outside his sheet music shop in Seattle dancing during a downpour. Nacio Herb Brown, who often worked with Freed on MGM musicals, then put it to music. SF It was introduced in 1929 by Doris Eaton Travis in The Hollywood Music Box Revue. Months later, it was performed by Cliff Edwards and the Bronx Sisters in The Hollywood Revue of 1929. Edwards was among three artists who charted with the song in 1929. Earl Burtnett took it to #4, Gus Arnheim reached # 9, and Edwards’ version went to the top of the charts.

Edwards, known as Ukulele Ike, was one of the most successful artists of the pre-rock era. His “jazz-flavored musical style made him a popular phenomenon of the 20s.” PM He charted thirty times from 1924 to 1940, including fifteen top-10 hits. He hit #1 with “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” but was probably best known for singing “When You Wish Upon a Star” as Jiminy Cricket in Disney’s animated film Pinocchio.

Years later Freed, now a producer at MGM, pitched the idea of a musical based around his songs. SF It became the 1952 film Singin’ in the Rain, one of the most celebrated musicals of all time. The most famous scene featured star Gene Kelly singing the song while dancing joyously in the rain and splashing in the puddles. The song became inseparable from “Kelly’s brilliant choreography.” LW

It found success again when Mint Royale recorded an electronica version in 2005. It was used in a Gene Kelly CGI-enhanced television ad for Volkswagen Golf SF and subsequently reached #20 on the UK charts. In 2008, 14-year-old George Sampson won Britain’s Got Talent replicating the routine from the ad. It revived the Mint Royale recording and it soared to #1.


First posted 11/4/2022; last updated 11/24/2022.

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