RIFFS / Heart-drenching stuff: Soul singer Dina Carroll on 'Wish It Would Rain' by the Temptations

'Wish It Would Rain' is a really sad ballad about a man who is torn apart. His woman has run off with someone else and he's really feeling terrible, he wants to cry so much but he feels that a man isn't supposed to cry. So he's praying - or rather singing - for it to rain, so he can go outside and cry and nobody will notice. He sings 'Sunshine, blue skies, please go away / My girl has found another and gone away / I know to you it might sound strange / But I wish it would rain / Because raindrops will hide my teardrops / And no one will ever know that I'm crying when I go outside'.

Norman Whitfield wrote this song for David Ruffin, the Temptations' lead singer, who had the ultimate voice. He has this gruff tone, but his great asset is his input of feeling into the vocal - he's singing from his soul, like this happened to him yesterday and he's still raw. By the end he's just going 'I wish it would rain', but throwing in lots of 'Oh yeahs' to emphasise the feeling.

My parents bought this album, but it was played to death by everyone in our house. It's the story and the feeling that really make the song for me. The string lines are cool, the cello and violins are the backbone of the track, but it's a song written for a harmony group, and, like the Detroit Spinners and the Four Tops, the Temptations were all excellent vocalists and could switch the lead vocal around. There was David Ruffin, Eddie Kendrix, Melvin Franklin and the fourth one I can never remember because it changed a couple of times. At Motown all sorts of great singers were coming and going, doing tracks in a day, so they grew and learned together. You see, a vocalist has no distractions, so he or she can practise away till it's perfect, and here that's what David Ruffin is giving you.

'Wish It Would Rain' was available on the album 'Wish It Would Rain', and on 'The Temptations Greatest Hits Vol 2' (CDWD72647). Both have been deleted.

(Photograph omitted)

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