Wednesday 28 September 2016

We're all just singin' in the rain

Published 07/07/2015 | 00:06

More than 900 songwriters or singers have written or sung about weather, the most common being Bob Dylan who wrote Blowin' In The Wind
More than 900 songwriters or singers have written or sung about weather, the most common being Bob Dylan who wrote Blowin' In The Wind

People can't just stop talking about the weather - they can't stop singing about it either, according to a new scientific study.

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Researchers from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research have analysed how pop music reflects the weather through lyrics, musical genre, keys and links to specific weather events.

They found 750 popular songs referring to the weather with the most common references being to the sun and rain with blizzards being the least common.

Frequently, songs mentioned more than one weather type, indicating a range of emotions within a song and some, such as Stormy by Cobb and Buie mentioned up to six weather types.

Over 900 songwriters or singers have written or sung about weather, the most common being Bob Dylan, followed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Weather-related songs are also very popular, with 7% of them appearing in Rolling Stone's (2011) top 500 list of the Greatest Songs Of All Time.

Lead author Dr Sally Brown, from the University of Southampton, said, "We were all surprised how often weather is communicated in popular music, whether as a simple analogy or a major theme of a song, such as Bob Dylan's Blowin' In The Wind or The Hollies' Bus Stop, where a couple fall in love under an umbrella."

The study, published in the journal Weather, also found that musicians were inspired by specific weather events.

Dr Brown said: "In 1969, George Harrison wrote the Beatles' hit Here Comes The Sun after being inspired by one of the first sunny days of spring after a 'long cold lonely winter'.

"Our study also concluded that references to bad weather in pop songs were statistically more significant in the USA during the more stormy 1950s and 1960s than the quieter periods of 1970s and 1980s."

The study, carried out by the researchers in their spare time, concluded by noting a total of 30 weather-related artists, bands and lyricists, including Wet Wet Wet, The Weather Girls and KC And The Sunshine Band.

The findings follow previous research in 2011 by co-authors Paul Williams, from the University of Reading, and Karen Aplin, from University of Oxford, into weather events in classical music.

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