Some People Feel the Rain. Others Just Get Wet

Bob Dylan? Bob Marley? Roger Miller? Donald Freeman? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: I love the following quote, and have used it on my blog:

Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.

After researching the origin of the saying, it still remains unclear. Two famous musicians named Bob have each been credited: Bob Dylan and Bob Marley. I would like to list the correct source on my blog. Could you examine this question?

Quote Investigator: It is unlikely that Bob Dylan or Bob Marley crafted this expression. The wordsmith was probably another musician.

Roger Miller was a popular country singer and song writer in the U.S. who was best known for the hits “King of the Road” and “Dang Me”. In 1972 he was the star and host of a late-night television special on the ABC network titled “Roger Miller with His Friends and His Music”. A reviewer stated that Miller employed the line during the telecast. Boldface has been added to excerpts: 1

Miller’s wit is deeply philosophical in the same way. It’s the second thought that counts, just as it did with Will Rogers. One line on the ABC late-night special exemplifies this type of humor-based-on-tragic-truth: “Some people feel the rain; others just get wet.”

This was the earliest evidence known to QI. The program was recorded in 1972, and the review was published on December 31, 1972; however, the program was actually broadcast the next day on January 1, 1973 according to the “Lubbock Avalanche-Journal” of Lubbock, Texas.

In December 1973 Donald Freeman who was the TV-Radio editor at “The San Diego Union” in California wrote column with the theme: “looking back at 1973”. Freeman presented a series of anecdotes and laugh-lines from the concluding year, and he ascribed the line to Roger Miller: 2

And there was philosophy from Roger Miller, who noted: “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”

In March 1978 Freeman mentioned the saying in his column again. He must have found it noteworthy, and he repeated the attribution to Miller: 3

A touch of philosophy from Roger Miller: “Some people feel the rain — others just get wet”

In September 1978 the quote was reprinted as an epigraph in a syndicated newspaper column about a popular card game called “Aces on Bridge”: 4

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”
— Roger Miller.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

In 1980 the adage was printed as the epigraph for chapter 6 in the book “You Can Negotiate Anything” by Herb Cohen: 5

Some people feel the rain; others just get wet.
— Roger Miller.

In 1995 a syndicated horoscope column used a variant of the expression. Under the entry for Libra the following was written without attribution: 6

Certain individuals need reminding that there’s much to be learned from every experience. Some people walk in the rain others just get wet.

In 1999 an article titled “Life’s big picture” was published in an Australian newspaper called the “Sunday Tasmanian”. The writer Bryan Patterson ascribed the variant quotation about walking in the rain to Roger Miller: 7

Some people walk in the rain. Others just get wet. _ Roger Miller

In 2007 a Georgia newspaper printed an article titled “ASTERISK*/QUOTABLE” that credited Bob Dylan with the statement under investigation: 8

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”
Bob Dylan
American singer and songwriter (1941- )

In 2012 a Delaware newspaper article about a music festival straddled between Bob Dylan and Bob Marley: 9

When asked Friday whether the weather might dampen her Firefly Festival experience, 29-year-old Alison Hylton, of Virginia, responded with a quote from musical scripture: “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” The words can be attributed to folk/rock hero Bob Dylan and reggae legend Bob Marley.

In conclusion, QI believes Roger Miller popularized this saying via a television broadcast, and he is the most likely coiner. Evidence pointing to Dylan and Marley only appeared relatively recently and is not strong.

(Special thanks to Andrew Steinberg who sent QI a pointer to the key December 1972 citation. Thanks to Thomas Johansson and Burnéd Shoés who separately sent inquiries about this quotation. QI constructed the question based on these inquiries. Thomas Johansson also found an ascription to Roger Miller.)

Update History: On February 9, 2015 the citation dated December 31, 1972 was added and the entry was partially rewritten.


  1. 1972 December 31, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Section G: TV Weekly Log, “King of the Road” Roger Miller Wears No Special Labels Except He’s Talented, Quote Page 5, Column 4, Lubbock, Texas. (Newspapers_com)
  2. 1973 December 21, San Diego Union, Donald Freeman: TV-Radio Editor, Page C-13, Column 1, San Diego, California, (GenealogyBank)
  3. 1978 March 09, San Diego Union, Don Freeman: TV-Radio Editor, Page D-19, Column 1, San Diego, California, (GenealogyBank)
  4. 1978 September 20, Times-Picayune, Aces on Bridge by Ira G. Corn, Section 2: Page 2, [GNB Page 24], New Orleans, Louisiana. (GenealogyBank)
  5. 1980, You Can Negotiate Anything by Herb Cohen, [Chapter 6 epigraph], Page 101, Lyle Stuart Inc., Secaucus, New Jersey. (Verified on paper)
  6. 1995 July 4, Tuscaloosa News, Horoscope, Page 7B, Column 3, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Google News Archive)
  7. 1999 June 6, Sunday Tasmanian (Australia), Life’s big picture by Bryan Patterson, Page 19, Tasmania, Australia. (NewsBank Access World News)
  8. 2007 May 24, Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, “ASTERISK*/QUOTABLE”, Page A10, Columbus, Georgia. (NewsBank Access World News)
  9. 2012 July 21, Delaware State News, “Music lovers unite at Firefly – 3-day festival kicks off; Dover site a hit with fans despite soggy weather” by Jamie-Leigh Bissett, Page 1, Dover, Delaware. (NewsBank Access World News)

2 thoughts on “Some People Feel the Rain. Others Just Get Wet”

  1. Thank you very much for your help! I love your blog, please keep up your work! I already prepared a (copyright free) blog post in your honor that will be published in the next days -> I hope that this will make more people aware of the importance of reliable sources! All the best, B

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