Though April showers may come your way
They bring the flowers that bloom in May
So if it’s raining, have no regrets
Because it isn’t raining rain you know, it’s raining violets,
And where you see clouds up on the hills
You soon will see crowds of daffodils
So keep on looking for a bluebird and list’ning for his song
Whenever April showers come along.
To mark the mixed weather of spring, let's turn back the clocks to offer out a bouquet, nay a spray, of various versions of this popular song written in 1921 by Louis Silvers with words by B.G. "Buddy" DeSylva. It's a song that does what it says on the tin, putting a jaunty spring in one's step. In no particular order, first up here's a 1950 recording of the boyish Mel Tormé with the Page Cavanaugh Trio, appearing here on a TV special – though with different musicians, Mel really does play a cheeky little drum solo.
The song was also a hit for Al ("Mammy") Jolson, the highly successful wide-mouth-style singer who controversially blacked up for his show The Jazz Singer, though music historians are divided on whether he was a racist exploiter of black music, or someone who wanted to highlight the oppressed, as he did indeed perform with many black musicians. In 1921, this song was introduced with the Broadway show Bombo. Let's enjoy it with some early cartoons including an appearance from Betty Boop. A later version came in 1935 with the Al Jolson Story.
There were also many instrumental versions recorded in the 1920s. Here's one by the Club de Vingt Orchestra in 1921, made onto a '78 record, but here played on an Edison Blue Amberol cylinder.
And now, a rather bright and breezy version on this '78 played by Wiedoeft’s Californians, also in 1921:
Here's yet another 1921 version, rather slower and more romantic, delivered by Arthur Fields:
There's always Frank Sinatra, here smoothing it out in 1947:
Among many other recordings, let's now move forward to 1956, and some rather rare footage of Judy Garland doing the finale of General Electric Theatre:
And so the list could continue, from Margaret Whiting to Woody Herman, Joni James to to The Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band, and it even appears on the Disney Bambi and an episode of Bugs Bunny, voiced by Mel Blanc. But let's finish with an oddball version by Tiny Tim from 1966 from the rarities album Lost & Found 1963-1974:
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