Friday, November 21, 2014

"Here’s That Rainy Day" – Jazz on Nylon #6

Music for a Friday—& a rainy Friday at that for those of us in Portland.

“Here’s that Rainy Day” was written in 1953 by the songwriting team of Jimmy Van Heusen & Johnny Burke; Van Heusen & Burke were of course prolific, & wrote many other standards in the “Great American Songbook,” including such notable songs as “Swinging on a Star”, “Moonlight Becomes You”, “It Could Happen to You”, & “Imagination”. Both Van Heusen & Burke collaborated with others, Van Heusen working with Sammy Cahn, with whom he composed “All the Way”, “Call Me Irresponsible”, “Come Fly with Me” & many others. Burke meanwhile also worked with (among others) Arthur Johnston, with whom he penned the standard “Pennies from Heaven”. “Here’s that Rainy Day” was written in F major, & was debuted by Dolores Gray in the Broadway musical, Carnival in Flanders.

Here’s a fine short analysis of “Here’s that Rainy Day” by Jeremy Wilson on

John Barrett Jr. aptly described “Here’s That Rainy Day” as “a gentle yawn, the sun rising on a sad feeling.” It is a ballad about lost love, about love turning to a cold, rainy day. With a relaxed tempo and a feeling of melancholy, the lyrics and music support each other in creating the mood. That is not to say that it is a simple song. Alec Wilder, in his book American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950, comments that “Here’s That Rainy Day” is “a very difficult song” with a complex bass line. He characterizes it as “powerful,” “affecting,” and with “great weight and authority.” The song is an excellent example of the sophistication that became acceptable in popular songs in the 1940’s.

Jazz musicians appreciate the elegance of “Here’s That Rainy Day” with its surprising melodies and harmonies. The song’s flexibility has allowed it to be recorded hundreds of times as a ballad, a swing number, and even an up-tempo, bossa nova tune.

Eric Hill is today’s guitarist, & I wish I knew more about him. He does have a website, & we learn there that he retired after a long career as a professional classical guitarist & teacher. He also mentions that his retirement occurred after recovering from a serious illness, & goes on to say that in retirement he plans to work on improvisation using jazz standards. His YouTube channel has a handful of videos, each excellent—& each will probably appear in this series as it continues—but it’s worth noting that he hasn’t uploaded anything since 2008; not sure what that means, but it is certainly a loss, because Mr Hill is a formidable player.

Hope you enjoy this.

Image links to its source at


  1. Great song! And an interesting interpretation, especially as this one had to have been difficult to transcribe for guitar. Thanks, John!

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, Roy! I don't know if you're familiar with the work of Mark Hanson, but I know he's done a nice fingerstyle arrangement of this. Otherwise, I mostly know of full on chord solos, plectrum style, & that's not my bailiwick for sure. I've also seen it arranged for uke in low G tuning! (GCEA, but with the G string a fourth below the C, not a fifth above it)

  3. Thanks for sharing that - just had a listen. It can be a rather eerie place, the internet, what with all the stuff we leave behind us sitting around on it. I have found reference to EH as recently as 2012:

    1. Hi Dominic: That is interesting. Curious why he posted those few videos in 2008 & then nothing else when he obviously was still involved with the guitar in 2012. It probably will remain a mystery, & that's a good point about the eeriness of the internet; interesting why it's more eerie to listen to his recordings than, for instance, Joe Pass or Charlie Byrd. I guess it's because we know their biography & know they're no longer with us, whereas someone who's not famous--but is nonetheless a talented & highly accomplished player--simply remains a mystery. I do like his playing very well.


Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts. Please do note, however, that this blog no longer accepts anonymous comments. All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience.