special disco mention #17: The weather girls
‘It’s raining men, hallelujah!’
Have a peak at The official Top 40 this week and you’ll find, in amongst the ubiquitous Trance & B, the Pitbull’s, Avicii’s and Will.I.Am’s, a song from 1982 by two slightly rotund, larger than life ladies extolling the joys of an odd type of precipitation – the raining of men.
The Weather Girls took the world by, err, storm with their early 80s hit, It’s Raining Men – camper than a nine bob note, the unhinged ode to men has been the toast of hen nights and suburban gay clubs ever since.
Izora Armstead and Martha Wash began their careers known as ‘Two Tons of Fun’, backing singers to the mighty disco goddess Sylvester in the late 70s. They weren’t always uber camp, panto-like figures – they could both really sing, beholden of big gospel voices capable of banging out deep ballards such as this cut off their 1980 debut LP:
Likewise, they could belt out disco smahers with the best of them, here’s a Patrick Cowley produced cut, I Got The Feeling:
The reason they’re back in the charts is down exclusively to the antics of ex UKIP councillor David Silvester and his so-bigoted-they’re-almost comical remarks linking the recent floods in the UK to the wrath of God: so unsatisfied was poor David with the recent passing of laws on gay marriage in the country. Silvester has since been suspended by UKIP and it would be surprising to see his political career resurrected any time soon (shame) – The Weather Girls, however, are back with a bang.
Some bright spark saw the opportunity to make a statement on Silvester’s medieval homophobia and started the campaign to get It’s Raining Men (the perfect song for the occasion) back into the UK Top 40. It worked. Within a couple of weeks the campaign facebook page had 10,000 likes (now 15,000) and last week It’s Raining Men shimmied it’s way back into the Top 40, 32 years after it’s initial release. This week, the track is at number 31. Armstead passed away in 2004 but Wash is still around, although the Weather Girls name has now been passed over to Armstead’s daughter, who released an LP in 2005. Anyways, while that 2005 release probably isn’t an essential purchase(!), The Weather Girls are certainly worthy of this week’s special disco mention, in fact has anybody ever been more suitable?