Self

30 Best Songs About Rain

Photo: Sondem / Shutterstock
woman in raincoat standing in the rain

Music has often drawn inspiration from the weather — for example, "Thunder" by Imagine Dragons, "Lightning Strikes" by Cypress Hill, and "Like a Hurricane" by Crazy Horse.

Rainy days have a certain moody feel about them, so there's no surprise that there are a number of songs about rain.

According to a 2015 study, musicians appeal to the weather as “kind of an escapism.” Songwriters draw on metaphors and emotions to relate to their experiences and troubles.

Although the stylistic meaning of rain is interpreted as sadness, these songs about rain range in genre and association to create the perfect rainy day playlist!

1. “Rain on Me” by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande

At the VMAs while accepting the award for the 2020 Song of the Year, Lady Gaga explained that the song was inspired by tears:

“I remember thinking I had cried so many tears that it felt like an unfathomable downpour from my eyes. But even with that much rain, you don’t have to drown... Even though it feels like you are, you can still swim. And if there’s a strong current with a bunch of waves and they keep crashing over you, if you keep swimming, you’ll reach the center of the ocean, where it’s calm, still, and peaceful.”

"I'd rather be dry, but at least I'm alive / Rain on me, rain, rain / Rain on me"

RELATED: 27 Rainy Day Quotes To Help You Appreciate The Dreary Weather

2. “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” by Bob Dylan

Released in 1963, this song was based on an old folk ballad titled “Lord Randall." The song was described as an anti-nuclear war anthem and it was also one of three social protest songs Dylan had recorded for The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

Dylan introduced the song by saying the hard rain was “some sort of end that’s just gotta happen.”

"I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow / I met one man who was wounded in love / I met another man who was wounded with hatred / And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard / It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall"

3. “Raining on Sunday” by Keith Urban

Raining on Sunday was released with Urban’s second solo album, and was written by Darrell Brown and Radney Foster.

Foster recalled where the title for the single came from and said, “It was raining cats and dogs on a Sunday afternoon when I went over to Darrell’s house to write, I was holding my jean jacket over my head getting in his front door and I sang, ‘When it’s raining on Sunday’ as a joke. We both laughed and he said, ‘No, that’s a cool title.’ So we sat down and started.”

"Pray that it's raining on Sunday / Storming like crazy / We'll hide under the covers all afternoon / Baby whatever comes Monday / Can take care of itself / 'Cause we've got better things / That we can do / When it's raining on Sunday"

4. “Rhythm of the Rain” by The Cascades

This was written by the Cascades lead singer John Gummoe.

According to Gummore, “I wrote ‘Rhythm of the Rain’ over a period of time, but the lyrics began while I was serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Jason AR8. I was standing mid-watch on the bridge while we were underway to Japan. We were sailing up in the north pacific and it was raining heavily and the seas were tossing.”

"Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain (ahh) / Telling me just what a fool I've been (pitter-patter, rap-tap-tap) / I wish that it would go and let me cry in vain (ahh) / And let me be alone again (pitter-patter, rap-tap-tap)"

5. “The Rain Song” by Led Zeppelin

The group wrote this romantic song after the Beatles’ lead guitarist, George Harrison, said that Led Zeppelin was not composing enough ballads. The song uses metaphors of the changing seasons to describe the changing emotions of love.

​​”Upon us all, upon us all, a little rain must fall / Just a little rain, oh”

6. “Rainy Night in Georgia” by Brook Benton

The song describes a man who currently has no place to spend the night and is missing his lover. Though the song is set in Georgia, Benton actually recorded it in sunny Miami, Florida in November of 1969.

"But it's 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"

7. “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele

The single was released on Adele’s album "21," where several of the songs took inspiration from her first real relationship. It deals with liberation and leaving an unhealthy or toxic relationship.

In an interview with MTV News, Adele said, “It broke my heart when I wrote this record, so the fact that people are taking it to their hearts is like the best way to recover. ‘Cause I’m still not fully recovered."

"But I set fire to the rain / Watched it pour as I touched your face / Well, it burned while I cried / 'Cause I heard it screaming out your name / Your name"

8. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

The song was originally released in 1972 after Tom Fogerty announced his split from the group. It features the lead vocalist John Fogerty, Tom’s brother, detailing the heartbreak through imagery.

In a 1993 interview with Rolling Stone, John said, “That song is really about the impending breakup of Creedence. The imagery is, you can have a bright, beautiful, sunny day and it can be raining at the same time. The band was breaking up. I was reacting: ‘Geez, this is all getting serious right at the time when we should be having a sunny day.’"

"I want to know, have you ever seen the rain? / I want to know, have you ever seen the rain? / Comin' down on a sunny day"

9. “Bring on the Rain” by Jo Dee Messina & Tim McGraw

This country song sparks hope and strength. It compares rain to sadness, but insists that it will not keep us down. Written by Billy Montana and Helen Darling, "Bring on the Rain" was released on September 10, 2001 — the day before the 9/11 attacks.

“Another day has almost come and gone / Can't imagine what else could go wrong / Sometimes I'd like to hide away somewhere and lock the door / A single battle lost but not the war / 'Cause, tomorrow's another day / And I'm thirsty anyway / So bring on the rain”

10. “Come Rain or Come Shine” by Ray Charles

Written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, this song about rain focuses on devotion to your partner. Ray Charles wasn't the first or last one to sing this song, which was originally written for the Broadway musical, "St. Louis Woman."

“I'm gonna love you like no one loves you / Come rain or come shine / High as a mountain, deep as a river / Come rain or come shine”

RELATED: 35 Best Songs About Life To Keep You Motivated On Your Journey

11. “Songs About Rain” by Gary Allan

The song describes a man who just found out his ex married another guy. One of the lines says, “Well I thought I was over you, but I guess maybe I’m not.” The narrator is stuck driving around listening to songs about the rain, with rain meaning sadness or heartache.

"Today, I heard you got a new last name / Sure didn't know it was gonna hit me this way / And the radio just keeps on playin' all these songs about rain / Rainy night in Georgia, Kentucky rain"

12. “Purple Rain” by Prince

Although the song was originally meant to be a country duet with Stevie Nicks, Prince was able to rework it and take it out of the country genre.

According to Prince, purple rain meant, “When there's blood in the sky — red and blue = purple... purple rain pertains to the end of the world and being with the one you love and letting your faith. God guide you through the purple rain."

"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 want to see you laughing / In the purple rain"

13. “Umbrella” by Rihanna

In this classic Rihanna song, the umbrella is a metaphor for her promise to support someone she cares about. Surprisingly, this song was rejected twice before Rhianna accepted it. It was originally written for Britney Spears, but her label said no, and then it was offered to Mary J. Blige.

“Now that it's raining more than ever / Know that we'll still have each other / You can stand under my umbrella”

14. “Fool in the Rain” by Led Zeppelin

“Fool in the Rain” was the last single the band released before their breakup in 1980.

The origin of the song actually came from John Paul Jones and Robert Plant when they were watching the 1978 FIFA World Cup tournament in Argentina where a heavy samba beat was present. The song covers the story of a man who is in love with a woman who doesn’t love him back.

"Now I will stand in the rain on the corner / I watch the people go shuffling downtown / Another ten minutes no longer / And then I'm turning around, 'round / And the clock on the wall's moving slower / Oh, my heart it sinks to the ground / And the storm that I thought would blow over / Clouds the light of the love that I found, found"

15. “Only Happy When it Rains” by Garbage

Drummer and co-producer Butch Vig said, “‘Only Happy When It Rains’ was about what happened with grunge and the angst-filled thing which has dominated the American alternative rock scene. With us there’s self-deprecation, we have to poke fun at ourselves because we’re so incredibly obsessive about the songs and the lyrics, which makes us filled with self-loathing.”

"I'm only happy when it rains / I'm only happy when it's complicated / And though I know you can't appreciate it / I'm only happy when it rains / You know I love it when the news is bad / Why it feels so good to feel so sad? / I'm only happy when it rains"

16. “It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls

Although written from the perspective of women, this song details how there will be enough men for women and men. It has since been embraced as a classic in dance music!

"It's raining men, hallelujah, it's raining men, amen / I'm gonna go out to run and let myself get / Absolutely soaking wet"

17. “Singin’ in the Rain” by Gene Kelly

Kelly describes being able to smile when all we see is dark. This song originated from the romantic comedy film of the same name, which was released in 1952. Written by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, "Singin' in the Rain" continues to be popular to this very day, appearing in several movies after its original debut.

“I’m singin’ in the rain / Just singing in the rain / What a glorious feelin' / I'm happy again”

18. “Rain” by The Beatles

According to John Lennon, "Rain" was “the first time that we had used a backward voice on a track... The first backward tape on any record anywhere. Before Hendrix, before The Who, before any f***er. Maybe there was that record about ‘They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha Haaa!’; maybe that came out before ‘Rain,’ but it’s not the same thing.”

"Rain / I don't mind / Shine / The weather's fine / I can show you / That when it starts to rain (when the rain comes down) / Everything's the same (when the rain comes down) / I can show you"

19. “Rainy Days and Mondays” by The Carpenters

The song was composed in 1971 by Roger Nichols and Paul Williams, and was released as the first track on the album "Carpenters." The song describes someone’s journey with their emotions.

“Talkin’ to myself and feeling old / Sometimes I’d like to quit / Nothin’ ever seems to fit / Hangin’ around / Nothin’ to do but frown / Rainy days and Mondays always get me down”

20. "I Wish It Would Rain" by The Temptations

This song from one of the best Motown groups describes the pain one feels from losing a loved one. Though the song is catchy, it expresses the pain no one can truly understand until they experience it themselves.

"People, this hurt I feel inside / Words they could never explain / I just wish it would rain / (Oh, how I wish that it would rain) / Oh let it rain, rain, rain, rain / (Oh, how I wish that it would rain) / Oo, baby"

RELATED: The 50 Saddest 90s Country Songs That Make You Cry

21. "Here Comes the Rain Again" by the Eurythmics

This 1983 song performed by British duo Eurythmics was the opening track from their third studio album, "Touch." It contains the waves of melancholy that a person may experience at any given time.

"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 / Want to dive into your ocean / Is it raining with you?"

22. "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac

Fleetwood Mac released this stunning breakup song in 1977. The song is both melancholic and empowering, and appears on what many believe to be the best breakup album in the music industry, "Rumours." This song is also the group's all-time #2 hit.

"Oh, thunder only happens when it's raining / Players only love you when they're playing / Say, women, they will come and they will go / When the rain washes you clean, you'll know / You'll know"

23. "Rain" by Madonna

Madonna is an icon within the music industry, so it wouldn't be right if she wasn't present on this list with her bop "Rain." This song was a pleasing escape from the very sexual energy that Madonna had on her fifth studio album with Maverick Records, "Erotica."

"Rain / Feel it on my fingertips / Hear it on my window pane / Your love's coming down like / Rain / Wash away my sorrow / Take away my pain / Your love's coming down like / Rain"

24. "Rain Over Me" by Pitbull ft. Marc Anthony

"Rain Over Me" was a big hit on Pitbull's sixth studio album. It also features vocals from the Puerto Rican-American singer, Marc Anthony. In fact, the music video gained over 1 billion views in 2020, becoming one of the first 200 YouTube videos to do so!

"Girl my body don't lie (Red One) / I'm outta my mind / Let it rain over me (Mr. Worldwide) / I'm rising so high / Out of my mind / So let it rain over me"

25. "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain" by Willie Nelson

A fun fact about this rain song is that it was originally performed by Roy Acuff and His Smoky Mountain Boys. But Willy Nelson wasn't next in line; in fact, it was rerecorded with Hank Williams Sr. Then, Nelson took his crack at it and the rest is history.

"In the twilight glow, I see / Blue eyes crying in the rain / When we kissed goodbye and parted / I knew we'd never meet again"

26. "Box of Rain" by Grateful Dead

According to lyricist and collaborator with the Grateful Dead, Robert Hunter, "By 'box of rain,' I meant the world we live on, but 'ball' of rain didn't have the right ring to my ear, so box it became, and 'I don't know who put it there."

"Look out of any window / Any morning, any evening, any day / Maybe the sun is shining / Birds are winging or rain is falling from a heavy sky"

27. "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" by B. J. Thomas

An oldie but goodie, this song about rain just puts a smile on your face. From its uplifting message to its cute rhythm, it's catchy, no doubt. Thomas recorded the song for the classic 1969 film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," making pop music history.

"But there's one thing I know / The blues they send to meet me / Won't defeat me, it won't be long / Till happiness steps up to greet me / Raindrops keep falling on my head"

28. "Can You Stand the Rain" by New Edition

This power ballad is a great song that conveys the angelic voices of the group members, all while discussing a partner who can weather the rainy parts of the relationship.

"Sunny days, everybody loves them / Tell me baby, can you stand the rain? / Storms will come, this we know for sure (This we know for sure) / Can you stand the rain?"

29. "No Rain" by Blind Melon

Though the song is about the opposite of rain or what life is like when it's not raining, it still deserves to be on this list! This song serves as a reminder that everyone is out there trying to find their sunshine among the rainstorms of life.

"All I can say is that my life is pretty plain / I like watching the puddles gather rain / And all I can do / Is just pour some tea for two / And speak my point of view"

30. "Why Does it Always Rain on Me?" by Travis

Rock band Travis' lead singer, Fran Healy, actually wrote the song when he was visiting Israel. Healy discussed how he wrote the song because he wanted to go somewhere sunny since in his hometown of Glasgow it rained all the time.

"'Why Does It Always Rain on Me?' is a universal truth. Everyone has a moment when they hate themselves and think everything is rubbish," Healy said.

"Why does it always rain on me? / Is it because I lied when I was seventeen? / Why does it always rain on me? / Even when the sun is shining / I can't avoid the lightning"

RELATED: Why Warm Weather Makes People Fall In Love — And How To Make The Most Of It

Sydney Taylor is a writer who covers self and entertainment topics. Her work has been featured in Health Affairs, PurseBlog, Electric Literature, Kveller, WMMR-FM (Philadelphia, PA), The Cullman Times, BraveWords, WRIF-FM (Detroit, MI), Northwest Public Broadcasting and more.

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