(Johnny Bragg/Robert Riley)
This song was written in Nashville by Robert Riley and Johnny Bragg in 1952. They weren’t working in the Nashville music industry at the time but were fellow inmates at the Tennessee State Prison where Bragg was in for rape and Riley was in for burglary.
The song came to pass when the two of them were out in the rain one day while walking to do work in the laundry across the yard. The story goes that after Johnny Bragg had said “Here we are just walking in the rain and wondering what the girls are doing”, Robert Riley decided it would make a good song.
Unfortunately Bragg couldn’t write but thought up words for the first couple of verses in just a matter of minutes. Riley said he would write them down as long as he as credited as a writer and the result was a future hit record.
The song first saw success as a chart hit on the R&B chart in 1953 when it was recorded by Johnny Bragg and his group who were known as The Prisonaires. It was released by Sun Records and the recording managed to happen after Johnny and his group were taken to the studio in Memphis by armed guard.
Three years later, in 1956, Johnnie Ray recorded it and made it a hit in the US when it went to No.2 on the Billboard 100. It gained even further popularity when it crossed the Atlantic and entered the UK Singles Chart and knocked Frankie Laine and his “A Woman in Love” from the top spot. It remained in No. 1 position for 7 weeks.
The song has appeared on many albums during the course of its life by artists that include the original group, The Prisonaires, as well as The Champs, Eric Clapton, Johnnie Ray and Jim Reeves.