The Mayflower Hotel was located at Central Park West between 61st and 62nd street in New York City. It was constructed in 1926 and stood for over seven decades before being demolished in 2004. It was not a fancy place (the New York Times called it “drab and brown”) and its sad, singular claim to fame was that Pat Sullivan, producer of the Felix the Cat cartoon lived there in the ’30s.
Even though it stood for nearly 80 years, the only acknowledgment of the hotel’s existence is a tiny plaque on a nearby bench on Broadway featuring this clinical and decidedly unromantic inscription:
The funding for these benches was provided in 1996 by The Mayflower Hotel
Whatever New York City office was responsible for the text on that plaque blew it. They opted for cold acknowledgment when they could have imbued that bench with magical, magnetic pop power forever. Here is what the plaque should have said:
In 1983, Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox, the musicians collectively known as “Eurythmics” composed “Here Comes The Rain Again” during a stay at The Mayflower Hotel.”
Got that NYC? Just repaint the old chair orange (in honor of Annie Lennox’s 1983 hair hue), slap on that newly worded plaque, and boom, you’ve got a wickedly magnificent ’80s pop landmark to show off forever. How cool would it be to tell someone to “meet me at the Eurythmics bench” and for there to actually be one? It’d be cool (freakin’) blue, that’s what.
The moody, synthy, elegiac “Here Comes The Rain Again”, was a top 10 hit in both the U.S. and U.K. in 1984, and remains one of the most beloved tracks in the entire Eurythmics canon. And the song’s video featuring the lantern-clutching, nightshirt-donning Lennox walking the wild night sea while being stalked by the camera-wielding Stewart has become as iconic as the actual tune itself. Stewart described how “Rain” came to be in his precisely titled 2008 book, The Dave Stewart Songbook, this way:
“I’d been out on 46th Street and bought an early Casio keyboard, about 20 inches long with very small keys. It was an overcast day. Annie was sitting in my room, and I was playing some little riff on the keyboard sitting on the window ledge…Annie was looking out the window at the slate grey sky above the New York skyline and just sang spontaneously, ‘Here Comes The Rain Again.’
Stewart and Lennox have said “the rain” represents depression or a “downward spiral”, but of course, its meaning lies in the ear of the beholder. In other words, how you process it depends on where your head is at when you hear it. To some, it’s about the black dog of depression. To others, it’s a melancholy plea to an unrequited love. To others still, it’s a confessional conversation with an empathetic someone.
“Rain’s” dark, wanting vibe and overall gravitas have made it an especially appealing cover choice for the symphonic, progressive, and doom metal purveyors of the universe. Yup, over-the-top riff-meisters and power-belters the whole world over really seem to love the “Rain”. As a result, there are a disproportionate number of covers done in that style. But honestly, the louder and more eccentric the attempt, the better it tends to be (sorry quiet troubadours, but the noisemakers and weirdos pretty much own “Rain” which truth be told, is as it should be).
And now, in honor of Annie and Dave’s well-deserved induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, we offer to you five fine, fiery, and fierce covers of “Here Comes The Rain Again”. Before we start, I should note that covers starring the actual Eurythmics are not eligible for the Five Good Covers program. Thus we won’t be featuring the Dave Stewart-assisted takes by Daryl Hall (heartfelt) and Joss Stone (heated) nor the Annie duet with Paul Buchanan of The Blue Nile (staggering).
Walk with me…
Hypnogaja – Here Comes The Rain Again (Eurythmics cover)
Built on a bed of big sludgy chords and home to a thunderingly raw vocal by singer Jason Arnold aka ShyBoy, LA hard rockers Hypnogaja’s 2005 cover of “Rain” is a grungey, prog-metal monster (as well as the band’s most popular song). It is hilariously intense and is by far the best of all the metallic-flavored “Rain’s” out there.
Human Tetris – Here Comes The Rain Again (Eurythmics cover)
Though Moscow trio Human Tetris’s run through “Rain” has garnered over 1.9 million plays on YouTube, it isn’t necessarily a blow-you-away-at-first-listen sort of cover. It has a classically moody post-punk vibe, and its overall sound sits somewhere between vintage Echo & the Bunnymen and Comsat Angels. Okay, preface over, it is now time to throw praise and worship at the real hero of this cover: the guitar line. It is positively alive and serves as a gorgeous and glorious magic carpet for the song’s “talk to me” verses.
Dikla – Here Comes The Rain Again (Eurythmics cover)
Israeli singer Dikla draws from a huge melting pot of influences. Her parents hail from Egypt and Iraq. She sings in Hebrew, Arabic, and English. She describes her sound as a marriage between the Arabic music she loved growing up and classic pop.
Dikla’s cleverly arranged cover of “Rain” is a mixture of all the aforementioned elements and flavors. But the key, aka star ingredient here, is Dikla’s insanely charismatic vocal performance. She is like a surfer telling the ocean what to do. She extends notes. She inserts dramatic pauses. She is a freewheeling Celine Dion who colors outside of every line and doesn’t care about your conventional phrasing thank you. It’s total pop theater…and makes for one seriously fabulous cover.
Pia Ashley – Here Comes The Rain Again (Eurythmics cover)
If you love and worship Heart (and you better) then there’s a good chance you’ll appreciate Canadian rock singer/songwriter Pia Ashley’s cover of “Rain”. It is not the delicate “unplugged” flower one might assume from looking at the image above before hitting play. Things simmer skillfully until about 2 1/2 minutes in, at which point Ashley unleashes her voice and heads straight over the top of the freakin’ mountain…and just keeps going. Ann Wilson would be proud.
Warmrain – Here Comes The Rain Again (Eurythmics cover)
Tuneful prog-rockers Warmrain’s cover of “Rain” sounds like a lost cut by the Dave Gilmour-led version of Pink Floyd. It moves at a pace I would liken to walking up a hill of sand while wearing a heavy backpack. It is also quite heavenly.
Weird Fun Fact: In the middle of Game 5 of the recent Major League Baseball Playoff series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres, it started to pour. During a fade into a commercial at the end of one storm-soaked inning, they cued up a song. Yup, you guessed it. But seriously, props to the network powers that be, that out of the millions of songs with “rain” in the title, they somehow had the sense and flair to pick “Here Comes the Rain Again”. I can’t help but think the storm was calculatedly planned by a higher power and intended as a direct nudge to the earthbound to spin some Annie and Dave in honor of their Hall of Fame induction. Forgive me, but I’m gonna have to do it again Eurythmics fans…there must be an angel…
Warmrain’s version was tremendous, and your description of it was spot-on!
Thanks, Mark, and I concur, it’s beautiful!!!