Forty-eight years ago today, B.J. Thomas’ “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head” reached number one on charts in the United States, Canada, and Norway. The song had become the favorite track for radios. Back then, there would always be a member of a family who was familiar with the tune.
Hal David and Burt Bacharach wrote the song for the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969. In 2015, Billboard magazine ranked the song 15th on its Top 50 Movie Songs of All Time. According to accounts, Ray Stevens was the first artist to be offered the recording, but he turned it down for “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” written by Kris Kristofferson. Bob Dylan was also approached for the song, but he too declined.
An Impressive Record
The track ended up to be B.J. Thomas’ breakthrough song. Upon its release, it peaked at the top spot in the United States, Canada, Norway, and also ranked number 38 in the UK Singles Chart. Further, it holds the record as the first American number-one hit of the 1970s. It stayed for four weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1970. Adding to its success, the track spent seven weeks atop the Billboard adult contemporary chart. The Billboard magazine record shows that Thomas’ single had sold over 2 million copies by March 14, 1970.
Still on Billboard records, the single ranked 85th on Billboard’s Hot 100 All-Time songs and placed 95th in the 55th Anniversary edition of the All-Time Hot 100 list in 2013. On the survey of top tunes in American cinema, it held the 23rd spot on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Songs. On top of it all, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014.
A Favorite Movie Soundtrack
Aside from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head” was also used in the movie Spy Hard. Also, it is included on the soundtracks of Forrest Gump and Spider Man 2. Remember that scene when Peter Parker felt the bliss after he abandoned his Spider Man identity and responsibilities?
Other movies that played the song on the background include Kevin Smith film Clerks II, Grey’s Anatomy second season, The Simpsons episode 16, Arrested Development season 1, and 2003 film The In-Laws starring Michael Douglas and Albert Brooks.
Artists from different genres covered the song numerous times. In 1970, Johnny Farnham’s version spent seven weeks on the top spot in Australia. Aside from various covers, the song was also translated into different languages such as Danish, Swedish, and French.
So fellas, even when the sun is shining high up in the sky, let’s remember the song we grew up with. Enjoy watching.
B.J. Thomas, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head