Some of the best songs ever written were inspired by one of life’s most prevalent natural interruptions, the rain. A symbol of sadness and release which has become a cornerstone in popular music, it’s a cathartic theme that helps songwriters craft excellent melodies and evoke the power of nature in their songs.
Whether you’re feeling down, praying for a change of season, or you’ve just got a garden that’s looking a little dry, there are plenty of reasons to be on the hunt for great songs about liquid precipitation. We’re here to help: We’ve scoured Spotify and our memory banks to find the all-time greatest songs about rain, in hopes of helping you hear the wet-weather single you’re looking for.
Here are our handpicked selections of the best songs about rain from a myriad of popular genres, in no particular order.
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Among the most iconic pop ballads ever written, Prince’s Purple Rain is a love song with beautiful saxophone melodies, impassioned vocals, and shimmering keyboard lines that create a brooding mental image. The song builds to a guitar solo climax in the middle of its almost nine-minute run time — a long, slow form that simulates a massive dark storm passing overhead.
Fame, money, and success don’t always lead to happiness, or so posits John Fogerty on CCR’s hit single Have You Ever Seen The Rain, a song Fogerty wrote when the band was at the top of the charts, and yet somehow every member felt unhappy. “Have you ever seen the rain/Coming down on a sunny day” sings Fogerty in the song, using the metaphor to describe the struggle of discontent, even when you’re at the top.
Among the most melancholy singles ever released by iconic Motown group The Temptations, I Wish It Would Rain is the story of a heartbroken man who wants to hide his sadness. The song features samples of an actual thunderstorm, and paints a musical image of rain with elegant, descending strings.
It’s probably appropriate that the final single released by rock legends Led Zeppelin in the United States is about a man being stood up on a rainy street corner. A rhythmic and emotional song which features a samba beat, supposeldy inspired by the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, Fool In The Rain was never even performed live by the band after its release. Led Zeppelin officially broke up in 1980.
One of Clapton’s first hit singles, this 1970 song about love is most notable for its use of both “rain” and “reign” in the lyrics. It’s a clever vocal interplay that helps draw you into the intensely groovy and upbeat song — a perfect track to throw on at the end of a long, dry summer.
Bob Dylan’s complex single about injustice and suffering was based on the question-and-answer form the singer borrowed from the traditional English ballad “Lord Randall.” One of three songs Dylan performed at Carnegie Hall in 1962, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall offered a tumultuous and emotional soundtrack for young people in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and remains one of the most important songs about global issues ever written.
A gentle ballad with a beautiful trombone passage in the intro, Come Rain or Come Shine is an upbeat love song about loving someone no matter what. Originally penned by Johnny Mercer in 1946, the tune has strong staying power, having been recorded by the likes of Sarah Vaughan, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, and, our choice, Ray Charles — whose version charted separately in both 1960 and 1968.
“Into each life some rain must fall/But too much is falling on mine” sing Bill and Ella on this classic early-’40s ballad. An iconic composition which has been re-recorded by numerous jazz vocalists over the years, the song was even featured in the last two installments of the Fallout video game franchise.
James Taylor wrote Fire and Rain immediately following the death of his childhood friend Suzanne Schnerr, who committed suicide while the singer was in London recording his first album for The Beatles’ Apple Records. In the song, Taylor uses rain as a metaphor for sadness and depression, talking about the balance between positive energy and sadness that drove him to manic depression in his early days.
Part of the acclaimed soundtrack of late-’60s film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, this light and jovial hit reached number one on the charts in the United States in 1970, and also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that year. In the film version, the acclaimed lyrics about dealing with inclement weather sound a bit hoarser than on the studio version, because Thomas was recovering from laryngitis, and was required to do seven back-to-back takes by an unsatisfied Burt Bacharach (who wrote the song).