Meet the Writer Behind “Rhythm of the Rain” by The Cascades

It was the thunderclap heard around the world when The Cascades came onto the music scene in 1962 with their breakthrough hit “Rhythm of the Rain.” From the opening sounds of thunder and pouring rain, The Cascades captured the hearts of fans with the heartbreaking “Rhythm of the Rain,” which finds the leading man heartbroken over a lost love. It’s become the band’s defining song and stands the test of time. Below, we look at the band member who wrote the song, John Claude Gummoe.

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Meet the Writer of “Rhythm of the Rain”

Gummoe was born on August 2, 1938, in Cleveland, Ohio, to parents John Corwin Gummoe and Beulah Foy Harris, the only boy of three older sisters. A soprano singer, Gummoe joined the choir in school and would often sing solos in school productions. He also appeared in The New York Metropolitan Opera’s production of Carmen when it came to his hometown and the boys’ choir was chosen to appear in the first act.

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“On into my teens, I drove my friends and family crazy as I was always singing with everything on the radio, on records or whatever,” Gummoe writes in an archived autobiography from his website. “They were always telling me to keep quiet so they could hear the music. Little did they know, or I for that matter, that I would one day compose one of the biggest and most successful pieces of music in pop/rock history and actually record it with my own group, The Cascades.”

Other Aspirations

Gummoe didn’t always have musical aspirations, as he originally had his heart set on going to veterinary school. But the lack of funding needed for college led him to the U.S. Navy where he was enrolled for four years and where he met two of his future Cascades bandmates, Lenny Green and Dave Wilson. After leaving the Navy, they formed a group called The Thundernotes that would later become known as The Cascades.

“These two men helped me more than anybody I can think of, to drag a shy, insecure young man into the joys of creating music,” he praises.

Though he originally started as the band’s manager, some encouragement from Wilson and Green inspired him to officially join the band and take up songwriting and playing instruments. Gummoe’s time in the Navy proved to be influential to the band’s success, as “Rhythm of the Rain” was written while he was watching a thunderstorm while on duty.

“The chemistry was perfect. The group had a perfect sound for the era,” Gummoe says of the band’s breakthrough success in the 1960s just before the British Invasion. “It was magical!!”

The Success

In 1962, “Rhythm of the Rain” was released as a single. It hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sat for two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. It also topped the charts in Ireland and Canada and was translated into French when Sylvie Vartan recorded it and released it as a single in 1963. Dan Fogelberg also recorded a version that hit No. 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart in 1990.

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In 1967, Gummoe left The Cascades to form a new band, Kentucky Express. The Cascades reunited in 1995 and 2004. The legacy of “Rhythm of the Rain” continues to live on, as BMI ranked the song at No. 9 on its list of the top 100 songs of the century in 1999.

“I’m still composing, still singing and I hope I always will be,” Gummoe concludes the bio.


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