On Wednesday it will be ten years since Rihanna released pop anthem ’Umbrella’. The track, with its ’ella-ella-ellas’ and umbrella-twirling video, stayed at number one in the UK chart for ten weeks in 2007. The Sun even blamed the song for the exceptionally rainy summer we had that year. (The newspaper ran a story that suggested clubbers were unintentionally rain-dancing to the track... ah, simpler times.) Here are five things you might not know about the song that kicked Rih’s career up a gear.
1. The song was originally recorded for Britney....
Tricky Stewart’s Redzone production team, who wrote ‘Umbrella’, sent the song to Britney Spears’ label Jive as she was recording her ‘Blackout’ album. They were told Britney already had enough material for the album.
2. It was sent to Mary J Blige at the same time as Rihanna
She said in an interview: ‘They did the song for me. And it was during the Grammy time and I was really, really busy, and I heard it, and I was like, “Oh my goodness, that’s a smash. I love this song.” And it was like, “It's yours.” She’s such a beautiful lady, and I love her to death. I was so glad that she caught it and knocked it out of the park.’
3. Jay Z surprised Rihanna with his verse
Just before ‘Umbrella’ was released Jay Z sent over a remix with a verse from himself at the start. And turns out the version we all know is actually a redraft. Tricky said in an MTV interview: ‘There was actually another version before that one that he did. And the first one was perfect. And right before they were about to press it up, he went and changed his verse. And nobody even knew he changed his verse. At the time when he did, I didn’t really understand. But now, when I go back every once in a while and listen to the old rap, what he wrote [instead] makes so much better sense. And from a songwriter’s standpoint, he just really made it more about the song, with the metaphors about umbrellas and about the weather versus what he had before.’
4. Mandy Moore recorded a cover
As in Mandy Moore from ‘A Walk to Remember’. It was used in a version of reality show ‘The Hills’. Chris Brown (eurgh) did a version as a tribute to Rih: ‘You can be my Cinderella.’ Manic Street Preachers recorded a cover for an NME compilation album. Plus, Biffy Clyro performed a version in the Radio 1 Live Lounge.
5. And finally...
Rihanna cashed in on the song’s success by designing a range of umbrellas for Totes.
In other music news, Skepta has announced a very special London gig.