Rain has been one of my favorite things, ever since I was child. In that sense, I might be the odd one out. Most people like “nice” weather, which generally means sunny.
The term “rain”, in music, is often used to describe difficult times, whether it’s “it never rains but it pours” or “walking through the rain.”
Sometimes, it’s used in a positive sense (e.g. “it’s raining men” or “raining money”), but these songs seem to be the exception rather than the rule.
Regardless of your associations with rain, I feel you should be able to find yourself in one of the songs that follows.
Let’s get into 20 top songs about rain, some with “raining” in the title.
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“Rainy Night In Georgia” by Brook Benton
Song year: 1970
This is my favorite classic R&B song about raining, so if you haven’t heard it before, I’d suggest putting your headphones on, closing your eyes and imagining a rainy night. You’ll instantly be transported to a new dimension.
Brook Benton is no longer with us, but he was a popular pop, rock and roll and R&B singer-songwriter, especially in the 50s and 60s.
This is basically a song about loneliness, possibly a song about a breakup. The lyrics evoke images of traveling and journeying (maybe even touring), and the narrator is missing someone. It could be a breakup, or it could just be that there’s some distance between the couple.
I don’t think this song is all sad, but it certainly has that feeling to it.
“Have You Ever Seen The Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Song year: 1970
I tend to think of this song as the pessimist’s anthem, kind of like Eeyore from Winnie-the-Pooh.
That’s because the narrator of the song repeatedly asks, “I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain / Comin’ down on a sunny day?”
It’s kind of like saying, “yeah, it’s nice out but bad things still happen.”
Of course, this is just my superficial look at the song, which is actually about the Vietnam War. And, in this case, “rain” is a metaphor for bombs falling from the sky.
Even though the idealism of the 60s had faded, songwriter John Fogerty was pointing out that people were facing the same challenges in the 70s.
So, this song stands as a classic.
“November Rain” by Guns N’ Roses
Song year: 1987
This song was near impossible to avoid in the late 80s and even 90s. Honestly, it would be surprising if you haven’t heard it, even if you were born later.
“November Rain” is one of Guns N’ Roses’ most remembered and recognizable songs. And, it’s a nine-minute piano ballad, which wasn’t exactly what they were most known for as a band.
The song gradually picks up dynamically with distorted guitar and guitar solos. The ending solo may very well be the most recognizable part of the song.
The lyrics basically paint a picture of love falling apart. The narrator, however, seems interested in saving the relationship.
“Here Comes The Rain Again” by The Eurythmics
Song year: 1983
British duo The Eurythmics made a lot of great music. Synthpop and new wave may not have been everyone’s style, but songs like “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” have shown resilience and staying power through the decades, suggesting that they weren’t just a gimmick duo.
From the opening lines, “Here Comes The Rain Again” kind of sets a somber mood. It’s almost like saying, “here comes trouble.”
And, when you see words like “tragedy”, you would be easily convinced that this is the case.
The narrator seems at least partially hopeful, however, as she says, “Falling on my head like a new emotion.” New emotions are generally positive, right?
From what Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart have said, you can piece together that this is a song about going in and out of depression. Some people say they like that feeling of self-pity, don’t they?
So, if you’ve ever experienced rapid ups and downs in your life, you can probably relate to this song with ease.
“Blame It On The Rain” by Milli Vanilli
Song year: 1989
German dance-pop group Milli Vanilli made waves with their hit, “Blame It On The Rain”, for some of the right reasons, and, admittedly, for some of the wrong reasons.
The song debuted on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 at 65, and seven weeks later, it reached the top of the charts.
The song itself is closer to a low tempo ballad than an up-tempo dance number, but its success isn’t overly surprising.
The song is about a relationship that went sour. And, its message is that you’ve got to blame it on something, so blame it on the rain or the stars.
Anybody who’s been through a bad breakup knows exactly what it feels like to blame themselves for everything that went wrong. And, this song’s message is correct – you can’t put all the blame on yourself for what went wrong.
“Raining On Sunday” by Keith Urban
Song year: 2002
This ballad via Australian country star Keith Urban is about escape. It’s about the fact that life keeps throwing new challenges at you, and how you can lose hope, feel exhausted and like your heart is made of stone.
It’s also about how love works better when you just let go and surrender.
It’s true that a lot of things can come between couples and sometimes you just need some quality quiet time together. It can be healing.
That’s how I interpret this song, but of course you’re welcome to look at it how you want to.
“The Rain Song” by Led Zeppelin
Song year: 1973
When you think Led Zeppelin, you generally think “rock.” But the truth of the matter is that they experimented a lot and released different styles of music.
“The Rain Song” begins with a lone acoustic guitar, with additional elements gradually joining in as the song progresses. In that sense, it’s like their timeless trademark hit Stairway To Heaven.
But what is the song about? The clues are basically hidden in plain sight.
The lyrics progress through the four seasons – spring, summer, fall and winter. And, the narrator clearly says, “These are the seasons of emotion.”
And, I think it’s basically saying everyone goes through different seasons in their lives.
“It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls
Song year: 1983
Here’s a song that hardly needs an introduction (or much explanation, for that matter).
What’s interesting to note is that David Letterman’s musical director Paul Shaffer had a hand in writing this song. And, it became a number one dance hit. VH1 even listed it as one of the Greatest Songs of the 80s and it was Grammy nominated to boot.
This song is often thought of as a gay anthem (as it focuses primarily on men of all types), but it’s up to you whether you want to look at it that way.
“No Rain” by Blind Melon
Song year: 1992
When I think Blind Melon, I instantly think of “No Rain.” How about you? After all, this song brought them all the way to multi-platinum status. The adage must be true – one hit is all you need!
Based on the lyrics, I would like to say that this is probably a song about an elderly person who doesn’t mind living a plain life. Their world lights up when people are around them – their friends, their children, grandchildren and so forth.
Bass player Brad Smith wrote “No Rain”, and apparently, he wrote it about a girl he was dating who had depression. So, the song is about not having any motivation to get out of bed to do anything.
Songs about depression resonate with a lot of people, it seems.
“Fire And Rain” by James Taylor
Song year: 1970
From the opening lines, it’s clear that James Taylor’s “Fire And Rain” is about loss.
Yet, the narrator seems a little all over the map, as if there are multiple narrators, not just one.
The song is talking about going through thick and thin in life, but the second verse seems to be from the perspective of someone who’s about to pass away.
Taylor, however, said it’s a song about several incidents that happened early in his recording career.
First, he had a friend, Susanne, that took her own life. Second, Taylor had been depressed about the failure of his band (The Flying Machine). Third, Taylor finished the song while he was in rehab.
The song is also about grappling with fame and fortune.
I think a lot of people relate to it because they can easily get a picture in their mind about what it’s like to go through fire and rain in quick succession. But it’s also interesting to discover what the songwriter intended, as we have.
“Rain” by The Beatles
Song year: 1970
At first glance, I’d be inclined to say “Rain” is a song about the paradox of life. It alludes to how we complain about the rain but sit in the shade when the sun is bright.
So, in that sense it’s a song about not being happy about anything.
The song, however, is apparently about The Beatles’ arrival in Australia. When the band arrived, they were met with rain.
Some people also say the song is about LSD-induced psychedelia, and while some Beatles songs do seem to be about that, I’m not sure this is one of them.
So, we don’t have consensus as to what the song is about, but at least that means we can attach our own meaning to it.
“I Wish It Would Rain Down” by Phil Collins
Song year: 1989
This song basically seems to be about a breakup. The narrator blames himself for what went wrong, and while his ex-companion moves, he continues to harbor feelings of guilt.
This song features the guitar work of Eric Clapton, which probably didn’t hurt. At peak, the song reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song features a slow groove and the weepy riffs of Clapton, along with Collins’ trademark vocals.
If you’re feeling a sense of emptiness after loss, this is a good song to put on.
“Only Happy When It Rains” by Garbage
Song year: 1995
The song title seems to be dripping with irony, evoking that mid-90s abstract grunge vibe.
“I don’t care if it rains – I’m weird.” Am I the only one who said crazy things like that when I was in grade school? I don’t think so.
In “Only Happen When It Rains”, the narrator is basically saying they are only happy when things are going badly, and to keep showering them with misery.
But I think the song is probably best summed up in this line:
“I’m riding high upon a deep depression.”
Yep. This is another song about depression.
Steve Marker, however, added that the song was intended to make a mockery of exactly the kind of people I described – angsty, sensitive to everything types.
Either way, it’s super catchy.
“I Can’t Stand The Rain” by Tina Turner
Song year: 1984
In this song, the narrator can’t stand the rain because it reminds her of her ex.
The relationship, apparently, was amazing. So, the breakup must have been tough. She doesn’t want to be reminded of what went wrong.
“I can’t stand the rain / Against my window / Bringing back sweet memories.”
There’s nothing else to add here in terms of what the song means. But it is worth a listen, with all its unique overdubbed synth parts.
“Buckets Of Rain” by Bob Dylan
Song year: 1975
At first glance, Bob Dylan’s “Buckets Of Rain” is relatively abstract.
It seems to be hinting at the love and hate relationship you could potentially have with someone or even something.
Critics have said this is just Dylan singing to (and about) someone special – someone he still loves and admires after years of being together.
In the end, I think you’re free to interpret it as you choose. It’s a laid-back folk song.
“Through The Rain” by Mariah Carey
Song year: 2002
Mariah Carey’s “Through The Rain” is a gentle ballad about loneliness and not belonging.
And, ultimately, it’s about overcoming your challenges and persevering through difficulty.
So, if you’re “caught in the rain” and need to be encouraged, you’ll appreciate this song.
“Rain King” by Counting Crows
Song year: 1993
Have you ever heard “King Of Pain” by The Police? That’s what this song reminds me of. The narrator talks about how he never attracts anything good into his life and keeps encountering challenge after challenge.
Adam Duritz said the song basically serves as a metaphor for creativity, that it’s kind of like putting together the best product possible, making a mess of it and putting it out into the world.
And, it seems Duritz felt he should have accomplished more with all the time and effort he’d put into his craft. That’s quite relatable.
“Red Rain” by Peter Gabriel
Song year: 1987
If I had to take a guess, I’d say this is a song about war.
Apparently, however, Peter Gabriel took inspiration from several sources while writing “Red Rain”, including a recurring dream as well as a film in which villagers were punished for their sins with blood-red rain (it never got made).
Yet, when I read deeper into the lyrics, it seems to be hinting at cleansing and healing.
Regardless, it makes for a rather interesting song.
“Fool In The Rain” by Led Zeppelin
Song year: 1979
“Fool In The Rain” seems to be a song about being brokenhearted. You can really feel the anguish in the lyrics if you let yourself (in direct contrast to the music, which is upbeat and happy sounding).
This could be a song about unrequited love as much as anything else.
“Why Does It Always Rain On Me?” by Travis
Song year: 1999
“Why Does It Always Rain On Me?” is a song about depression. The narrator tries to figure out why bad things keep happening to him and thinks it must be because of something he did a long time ago.
What’s interesting is that songwriter Fran Healy is from Glasgow, Scotland where it rains constantly. He went to Eilat, Israel on holiday, where it’s always hot and sunny. But it rained for two whole days during his stay.
Travis performed the song at the 1999 Glastonbury Festival, and while it was sunny for several hours, the moment the first lines of this song were sung, it started raining.
So, if you want to take the song literally, you certainly can!
Best Songs With Rain In The Title, Final Thoughts
Rain can be positive. It can be negative. There are so many ways to use it as a metaphor in a song, usually to describe something that’s coming at you with velocity and volume.
When a song mentions rain, it often isn’t about rain falling from the sky, but about something else entirely. Again, this is because it can be used as an illustration to describe a variety of things.
What is your favorite song about rain? Did you find it here? Did you discover any new songs?
I hope you enjoyed this guide. I will see you in another best of song list!