#490: I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today by Tom Northcott
Peak Month: January 1971
8 weeks on Vancouver’s CKVN chart
Peak Position #4
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube.com:”I Think It’s Going To Rain Today”
“I Think It’s Going To Rain Today” lyrics
Tom Northcott is a Vancouver folk-rock singer with hits on the local pop charts from the mid-60s into the early 70s. He became known to a Canadian audience by his regular appearances on CBC Television’s Let’s Go music program in 1964-68. He was nominated as best male vocalist for a Juno Award in 1971. Later he co-founded Mushroom Studios in Vancouver and produced records. His hits are played regularly on Canadian oldies music stations.
Born in Vancouver in 1943, when he was in his teens Tom Northcott was gaining a reputation performing on the Vancouver coffeehouse circuit in the early ’60s. In particular, he was a regular in the Kitsilano neighborhood, the nexus of the hippie scene north of San Francisco. In 1965, Northcott took over from Ronnie Jordan as the lead singer for the Vancouver Playboys, a group that wore identical suits. The Vancouver Playboys were an exciting new band that fused the Beatles look with music resembling of The Ventures (of “Walk Don’t Run” fame). Northcott founded one of Vancouver’s first labels, Syndrome Records. Warner Record executives in Los Angeles were amazed at Northcott’s savvy and offered him distribution. While the Playboys toured the country that summer and fall, the label served home to their first single, “Cry Tomorrow”. It was the first of eleven Top 30 hits on local AM radio stations in Vancouver.
But by the end of the year Northcott left the band. With a 12-string guitar, Northcott formed The Tom Northcott Trio with drummer Chris Dixon and Rick Enns on bass. They were soon regulars on CBC TV’s Let’s Go program. Meanwhile they were selling out the top clubs in the area like The Afterthought in Kitsilano. The Tom Northcott Trio traveled to California and played gigs in San Fransisco and Los Angeles. This exposure got them further performances as and they opened for The Who, The Doors and Jefferson Airplane. In December 1965 they released “Just Don’t” to overall good reviews. It charted on both CKLG and CFUN peaking in January 1966. His next song, “Goin’ Down”, with the Tom Northcott Trio, has been reviewed at position #1138 on this Countdown.
His biggest hit song was the sunshine pop psychedelic tune, “Sunny Goodge Street” from 1967. The song, written by Donovan and first recorded on his album, Fairytale, became Tom Northcott’s signature tune. (Donovan’s signature tune, according to Wikipedia, is “Mellow Yellow” not “Sunshine Superman”.)
For a follow up to his local success Northcott drew from American folk-singer, Harry Nilsson, and his song “1941”, from his December 1967 album Pandemonium Shadow Show. Northcott quickly made his own recording. “1941” first appeared on the CKLG Boss 30 in Vancouver on January 13, 1968. Tom Northcott’s subsequent hit single in Vancouver was “Girl From The North Country”, written by Bob Dylan. He had more success in 1969 with “The Rainmaker”. In 1970, he had another Top Ten hit in Vancouver titled “Crazy Jane”. His next single release was “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today”.
Randy Newman was born to a Jewish family in 1954 and raised in New Orleans and Los Angeles. He wrote “Mama Told Me Not To Come”, a huge hit for Three Dog Night in 1970. Newman went on to record his own hit single, “Short People” in 1976. He has released eleven studio albums.
Newman has written scores for twenty-eight films between 1970 and 2019. Over the years Randy Newman has been nominated on twenty occasions for Academy Awards and won two of these. Both were for Best Original Song: in 2002 for “If I Didn’t Have You” from the animated comedy Monsters Inc., and in 2011 for “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3. Randy Newman has also been nominated on sixteen occasions for a Grammy Award. He has won twice for Best Instrumental Composition, three times for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Media, once for Best Score Soundtrack Album and once for Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals. In 2002 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
“I Think It’s Going To Rain Today” climbed to #4 in Vancouver (BC).
Mark Allan, Ron Grahame, Susan Jacks, Dennis McFadden, Fred Robinson, Tom Northcott, Canadianbands.com
Dennis MacFadden, Vancouver Playboys ~ Pacific Northwest Bands, October 2008.
David Fricke, “Randy Newman: My Life in 15 Songs,” Rolling Stone, September 15, 2017.
Jean Lindsay, The Scottish Poor Law, (Stockwell, 1975).
“Randy Newman: Award-winning Film Composer, Arranger, Pianist with Distinctive Style,” Songhall.org.