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RETRO CHART 2001: Spice Girl Geri reigns with her version of a Weather Girls’ gay anthem

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Geri Halliwell’s version of “It’s Raining Men” reached number one in both the UK and Irish charts.

Geri Halliwell’s version of “It’s Raining Men” reached number one in both the UK and Irish charts.

Geri Halliwell’s version of “It’s Raining Men” reached number one in both the UK and Irish charts.

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1 It’s Raining Men Geri Halliwell

2 Don’t Stop Movin’ S Club 7

3 Ride With Me Nelly ft City Spud

4 You Are Alive Fragma

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5 Cold As Ice M.O.P.

6 Who’s That Girl Eve

7 Out Of Reach Gabrielle

8 Play Jennifer Lopez

9 Survivor Destiny’s Child

10 One Wild Night Bon Jovi

Geri Halliwell became the first solo British female artist to have four No. 1 hits in the UK singles chart when she took “It’s Raining Men” to the top this week in May 21 years ago.

The Spice Girl was putting her second solo album together when she was asked to record a version of the Weather Girls hit for the soundtrack to “Bridget Jones’s Diary”. It ended up as the first single from her “Scream If You Wanna Go Faster” album and her most successful solo single worldwide. The accompanying video paid homage to the movies “Flashdance”, “Fame” and “Grease”.

In an interview, Halliwell said: “It was really odd because I was all ready to go with my new album. I had the single, I had the video idea all ready and then the producers of the movie said to me, ‘do you want to record “It’s Raining Men” for the soundtrack?’ I thought it would be fun and I love Bridget Jones cos I’ve read both books and so I just did it really quickly. They all loved it and wanted it to be a single and I thought it was a bit of a gift, so I released it”.

The single sold almost a half million in the UK alone and gave Geri Halliwell her fourth consecutive number one single there. It was also No. 1 in Ireland - the 1982 Weather Girls original had failed to reach the top 3 here.

The post-disco song was written in a single afternoon in 1979 by Paul Jabara and Paul Shaffer who had a difficult time getting anyone of note to record it. Donna Summer was the first to reject it, as she had become a Born again Christian and - according to Shaffer - considered it “blasphemous”. Diana Ross, Cher and Barbra Streisand also passed on the song.

The Weather Girls (then called Two Tons O’ Fun) were not convinced of the song’s merits either when offered it in 1982. The duo’s Martha Walsh recalled: “We thought it was a crazy song — in fact, too crazy to record. I kept saying, ‘It’s raining men? Really? Are you kidding me?’... I just did not think people would buy it... That’s why I kept saying no.”

They eventually agreed to record the song and the rest, as they say, is pop history.

The biggest hit for the Weather Girls, it reached No. 2 in the UK charts and was a number one hit on the Billboard dance chart in the US. Its lasting popularity however has been as a gay anthem. In 2017, Rolling Stone included it on their 25 Essential LGBTQ Pride Songs list. This year, Time Out ranked “It’s Raining Men” number nineteen in their list of The 50 Best Gay Songs to Celebrate Pride All Year Long in 2022.


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