It doesn’t matter if you live in the desert region where rain is rare or Seattle, Washington where it’s a very common occurrence. All of these songs with the word rain in their titles are sure to uplift and inspire you musically. They come from a number of genres and eras. You’ll hear from superstars, a group that inspired a TV show, a brother/sister duo, a campy classic and excellent singer/songwriters.
However, some of the songs are literally about the rain in some portion or in the entire song. There will be many that use rain as a metaphor regarding a break-up in a relationship or how a person feels. In other words, some of the songs are a lot of fun while many are on a more serious level. Even if these seem like sad songs the artists will captivate you with their passion, emotion, and great delivery. Now I’ll reveal the top ten songs about the rain. There’s one song lyric that states so eloquently: “and leave those umbrellas at home.”
10.) Kentucky Rain – Elvis Presley (1970)
We start off this song list with one of the greatest music superstars ever, the King himself, Elvis Presley. This happens to be one of my favorite Elvis songs. It is unquestionably the most descriptive song about rainy weather while passionately singing about his trials and tribulations while looking for his love. Some of the lyrics that refer to rain so impeccably are: “So I’m walking in the rain”, “Kentucky rain keeps pouring down”, “With the rain in my shoes”, “In the cold Kentucky rain” and “As we drove on thru the rain.”
9.) The Rain, The Park, and Other Things – The Cowsills (1967)
Here is a pop group that consisted of five brothers and one sister alongside with their mother. If that sounds a lot like “The Partridge Family” you are absolutely correct. The Cowsills were the sole inspiration for the hit TV show from the early to mid ’70’s. Initially they starred in a short-lived TV program on NBC in 1968 called “A Family Thing”. Then in 1969 the Cowsills were approached to appear in a TV sitcom where they would portray themselves. The television producers decided to hire Shirley Jones to play the mother and David Cassidy as the oldest child instead.
However, this family group from Rhode Island had a number of hit singles on the pop charts during the mid to late ’60’s. One of those hits is a brilliant song that is incredibly optimistic, fun, and infectious. The sound effects of the rain you hear, along with the beautiful harp, are absolutely astounding. Many people find the song to be cheesy and bubblegum. There are others who feel it describes the psychedelic era and the flower power movement to perfection. I would agree with the latter.
A favorite part of the song for me is in the chorus when they sing “happy, happy, happy.” As they sing those words in succession it goes up a note. You’ll know what I mean when you listen to it. Even though it describes rain in the beginning it has a great breakthrough and ending. Ironically, in 2005 Susan Cowsill and her brother Barry were living in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Susan and her husband evacuated, but Barry Cowsill apparently stayed behind. His decomposed body was found in December 2005 which resulted from drowning.
8.) It’s Raining Men – Weather Girls (1982)
If ever there was a song about the benefits of rain it would be this one. It’s as if rain is described in every verse. This is the quintessential rain song by the duo Martha Walsh and Izora Armstead. Martha Walsh would have another hit single in the 1990’s providing the powerful opening vocal in Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now). It’s Raining Men, the ultimate campy song, is considered a dance anthem, female anthem, and gay anthem. Many famous singers turned this song down including Donna Summer, Barbra Streisand, and Cher. It has since sold over six million copies worldwide.
7.) Rainy Days and Mondays – The Carpenters (1971)
The brother and sister duo featuring Karen and Richard Carpenter sing the saddest song about rain. Yet, when you hear Karen’s clear and lyrical voice it honestly doesn’t sound as depressing. The song title basically describes how those two things get her down. They are certainly relevant issues in today’s world.
6.) Red Rain – Peter Gabriel (1987)
One of my favorite albums of all time is So by Peter Gabriel. This song is the first track off of that stellar album. Red Rain is based on his many inspirations including an idea for a film where villagers are punished for their sins with a rain of red blood. Once he had a dream where he swam n a pool drinking red wine. If you’ve ever seen any of Peter Gabriel’s music videos this is not anything unusual for him. However, more recently he referred to the song title as being about acid rain, which makes a lot more sense. The drummer for The Police, Stewart Copeland, provided the rain sound effect in the background by playing on the hi-hat.
5.) I Wish It Would Rain Down – Phil Collins (1990)
Eric Clapton, one of the most influential guitarists of all time, is prominently featured in the recording on guitar and in the music video. This blues song by Phil Collins expresses vividly how rain is used as a metaphor. How he “wishes it would rain, rain down on me now” as a way of feeling depressed and sad. He delivers the song dramatically with such emotion and passion. It’s actually one of my favorite songs by Phil Collins.
4.) Who’ll Stop the Rain – Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970)
Not only is this a thinly-veiled protest song about the Vietnam War, and a disdain for the politicians during that time, it also refers in the final verse to the music, large crowds and torrential rain storms regarding the band’s experience at Woodstock in August 1969. The title is metaphorically about the angst of the younger generation in the late 1960’s.
3.) I Wish It Would Rain – The Temptation (1968)
Once again we revisit another excellent song using rain as an expression for feeling blue due to a break-up of a love relationship based on the songwriter’s real life situation. This is my absolute favorite Temptations song by far, especially the mournful vocals by David Ruffin. You can hear the instrumentation from the studio musicians when describing rain with sound effects.
2.) Have You Ever Seen the Rain – Creedence Clearwater Revival (1971)
This CCR classic has many metaphorical references to rain starting from the Vietnam War and the bombs, meaning rain, that’s falling from the sky to the end of the idealistic ’60’s with the fatalistic events at the Altamont Free Concert and Kent State shootings. It was also about the eventual break-up within the band.
1.) Purple Rain – Prince (1984)
We started off with The King at the top of the list and now we’ll end it with Prince. If ever there was an emotional song with a singer in pain it is this one. I’ve seen Tom Jones perform this song in concert and he really gets into it passionately. Prince wanted to write a power ballad that told a story in which the audience could connect emotionally with. He was inspired by some of Bob Seeger’s songs such as Night Moves and Main Street. This is considered one of Prince’s signature songs. The single comes from the album of the same name. Purple Rain is frequently ranked as one of the best albums in rock music.
You can download these songs for your listening pleasure while staying dry on rainy days at www.amazon.com or www.iTunes.com. After listening to any number of them you won’t even bother with rain boots, umbrellas, or other rain gear. They’ll make the rain go away no matter what’s going on.