Single Stories: Everly Brothers, “Crying in the Rain”
Did you ever hear the one about the Everly Brothers’ hit single that was the only songwriting collaboration between two of the most successful pop composers of the latter half of the twentieth century?
In 1961. Howard Greenfield and Carole King were both well-proven songwriters, each with several notable hits to their names. Greenfield had come to fame through his collaborations with Neil Sedaka, which included “Oh! Carol,” “Calendar Girl,” “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen,” and “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” while King – who, as it happens, was the inspiration for the aforementioned “Oh! Carol” – had teamed with her husband Gerry Goffin to write the classic “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.”
At the time, Greenfield, King, and Goffin were all working for Aldon Music, and Greenfield was writing songs with Jack Keller. One day on a whim, the two songwriting teams decided to try switching partners and see what might result from the change in collaborators. Whatever came out of the Goffin / Keller pairing – if, in fact, anything ever did – has since fallen into obscurity, but Greenfield and King produced “Crying in the Rain,” which is a damned fine day’s work, if we do say so ourselves.
The Everly Brothers recorded “Crying in the Rain” first, scoring a #6 hit, but the song has since been recorded by many other artists, with a-ha pulling a #13 hit in the UK with their version. Tammy Wynette, Peter & Gordon, Crystal Gayle, Art Garfunkel and James Taylor, Micky Dolenz, and Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds have all covered the song as well.
Oddly enough, though, Greenfield and King never wrote another song together. Guess it’s hard to make another attempt when you feel like you nailed it the first time around.
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