What is it about rain that inspires pop songwriters? Rain songs are some of the most memorable and intensely emotional of pop hits. These are 10 of the best. They are of course best listened to with the patter of raindrops on your window pane.
With the single line, "I believe it's rainin' all over the world," soul legend Brook Benton brings the melancholy spirit of the rain home. This record went to #4 on the pop singles chart in 1970 and was the last of Brook Benton's top 10 pop hits. The song has been covered by a wide range of other artists.
"Neon signs a-flashin', taxi cabs and buses passin' through the night
A distant moanin' of a train seems to play a sad refrain to the night
A rainy night in Georgia, such a rainy night in Georgia
Lord, I believe it's rainin' all over the world
I feel like it's rainin' all over the world"
The Eurythmics gave us the sound of synthesized rain swirled in with the powerful emotion of unrequited love. This was the Eurythmics' second top 10 pop hit in the US landing at #4 in 1984.
"Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you?"
Creedence Clearwater Revival use a metaphor of the rain to speak about seemingly endless times of confusion and misery. The song has frequently been tied to frustration with the Vietnam War. "Who'll Stop the Rain" became the band's fourth #2 hit single in 1970.
"Long as I remember the rain been coming down
Clouds of myst'ry pouring confusion on the ground
Good men through the ages, trying to find the sun
And I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain"
Hal David and Burt Bacharach wrote this song for the soundtrack to the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In a twist on typical rain songs, it speaks about the inability of the rain to douse faith in the return of happiness. The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and after being released in late 1969, it opened the 1970s at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 where it stayed for four weeks.
"Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothin' seems to fit
Those raindrops are falling on my head, they keep fallin'"
5. Beatles - "Rain" (1966)
John Lennon explained that the Beatles' "Rain" is ""about people moaning about the weather all the time." Appearing as the B side for "Paperback Writer," the song was one of the very first to utilize backwards vocal tracks. Promotional videos were filmed for "Rain." Click to watch one of those below.
"I can show you
That when it starts to rain
Everything's the same
I can show you"
Rain does have the ability to usher in painful memories. Memphis soul singer Ann Peebles brings that fact home in powerful fashion here. This became her biggest and only top 40 pop hit reaching #38 in 1973 while landing inside the top 10 on the R&B chart.
"I can't stand the rain 'gainst my window
Bringing back sweet memories
I can't stand the rain 'gainst my window
'Cause he's not here with me"
"When the sun shines, we'll shine together
Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be a friend
Took an oath, I'ma stick it out till the end"
One of Prince's signature songs, "Purple Rain" builds powerful emotion from opening with a lone guitar through powerful rising choruses and ultimately a searing guitar solo. Prince spent two weeks at #2 with "Purple Rain" in 1984.
"I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain"
Yes, the sound of rain can be a hypnotic accompaniment to making out and going "much too far." The song was so evocative of the sex taking place that many radio stations banned the song. Consequently, it only reached #16 on the pop singles chart, but it remains one of the most memorable hits of pop singer Lou Christie's career.
"Baby, the raindrops play for me
A lonely rhapsody 'cause on our first date
We were makin' out in the rain
And in this car our love went much too far
It was exciting as thunder
Tonight I wonder, where you are?"
Has there ever been a mainstream pop voice so effortlessly melancholy as that of Karen Carpenter? When she says a rainy day gets her down, it's impossible not to believe it. In 1971, this became the duo's fifth consecutive song to reach the pop top 3.
"What I've got they used to call the blues
Nothin' is really wrong
Feelin' like I don't belong
Some kind of lonely clown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down."