First released by Ian & Sylvia (1965).
Hit versions by Peter, Paul & Mary (US #91/MOR #13 1965), George Hamilton IV (C&W #9 1966), Oliver (MOR #38 1971), Paul Weller (UK #40 2005).
Also recorded by The Grateful Dead (1965, released 2013), Gordon Lightfoot, writer (1966), Elvis Presley (1972).
From the wiki: “‘Early Morning Rain’ (sometimes ‘Early Mornin’ Rain’) was written by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. Lightfoot wrote and composed the song in 1964, but its genesis took root during a 1960 sojourn in Westlake, Los Angeles. Lightfoot sometimes became homesick and would go out to LAX on rainy days to watch the approaching aircraft. The imagery of the flights taking off into the overcast sky was still with him when, in 1964, he was caring for his 5-month-old baby son and he thought, ‘I’ll put him over here in his crib, and I’ll write myself a tune.’
“Lightfoot would record the song for his debut 1966 album Lightfoot!. However, husband and wife folk duo Ian & Sylvia were the first to release ‘Early Morning Rain’, in 1965, for their album Early Morning Rain. Peter, Paul & Mary’s version, also recorded in 1965, was the first to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Other charting versions of ‘Early Morning Rain’ included George Hamilton IV 1966 arrangement that charted Country Top-10 in 1966, UK singer Oliver’s US MOR Top 40 single in 1971, and former Jam frontman Paul Weller’s UK Singles chart success in 2004.
“The Grateful Dead recorded ‘Early Morning Rain’ very early in their career, in November 1965, which went unreleased until the issue of the Complete Studio Rarities Collection in 2013. Elvis Presley would include the song on his hit 1972 album Elvis Now.”
Peter, Paul & Mary, “Early Morning Rain” (1965):
The Grateful Dead, “Early Morning Rain” (1965):
Gordon Lightfoot, “Early Morning Rain” (1966):
George Hamilton IV, “Early Morning Rain” (1966):
Oliver, “Early Morning Rain” (1971):
Elvis Presley, “Early Morning Rain” (1972):
Paul Weller, “Early Morning Rain” (2004):