It was the hit song that just couldn't find a home. Songwriters Paul Shaffer and Paul Jabara had written "It's Raining Men" with disco queen Donna Summer in mind. But the singer, who'd recently become a born-again Christian, balked at the song's lyrics, which she deemed "blasphemous."
The pair would take the tune to a host of superstar singers, including Diana Ross, Cher, and Barbra Streisand, who all rejected the song. Finally, it came down to R&B duo Two Tons O' Fun, who made their name backing up disco legend, Sylvester.
“We thought it was a crazy song — in fact, too crazy to record,” recalled singer Martha Wash, one half of the group with fellow singer Izora Armstead, to Huffington Post. “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.”
Jabara and Shaffer would not relent: “He kept pleading with us,” remembered Wash. “That was the song he wanted us to put our vocals to, so we did — and the rest is history.”
Briefly released under the Two Tons O' Fun band name, the single was quickly reissued under the new moniker the Weather Girls on September 10, 1982. It happened in large part to the singers referring to themselves as "the weather girls" early in the song's lyrics causing confusion with DJs and record buyers.
As the Weather Girls, the track was a dance-floor hit, exploding on the gay club circuit and charging up the charts to peak at #1 on the Dance Club Songs chart for the week of December 25, 1982. It held the spot for two weeks in a row.
Over on the mainstream Hot 100 chart, however, the high-energy anthem wasn't able to crack the top 40, peaking at #46 for the week of March 5, 1983. The #1 song in America that week: Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean."
Paul Shaffer celebrated the song's success with an impromptu performance on Late Night with David Letterman back in 1982.
A hit around the world, "It's Raining Men" was nominated in the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals category at the the 26th Annual Grammy Awards in 1984. The award went to Rufus & Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody."
“It’s just one of those songs where it’s fun for everybody,” Wash said. “It’s definitely stood the test of time. Now you have the grandparents who love the song, the parents who love the song and the grandkids who love the song. "They all get up and dance.”