27 Best Songs About Rainbows

Rainbow by Kacey Musgraves

Song Year: 2018

Kacey Musgraves’ ‘Rainbow’ is a triumph of gentle optimism. It combines beautiful lyrics with a gentle piano accompaniment.

Like many songs about rainbows, it reminds listeners to never give up on hope. There’s always beauty to sustain you, even if you must look harder than usual to find it.

The song is part of a CD called ‘Golden Hour.’ True to its name, it received a Grammy award for its musicality and Musgraves’ technique.

Rainbow (Interlude) by Mariah Carey

Song Year: 1999

This song about rainbows isn’t just for dreamers and optimists. Nature lovers will enjoy it because there is a wide range of nature sounds scattered throughout. Listen for the sounds of:

  • Birds
  • Waterfalls

‘Rainbow (Interlude)’ also turned out to be a watershed moment for Carey’s career. It was part of her seventh album and debuted on the cusp of her shift in musical tonality.

Subsequent performances featured a more urban sound. ‘Rainbow (Interlude)’ stands out as an example of a younger Carey.

What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

Song Year: 1967

When Louis Armstrong first sang ‘What A Wonderful World’ in 1967, it became an instant hit. At least, it was in the UK. It lacked the same immediate success in North America because Bob Thiele and George David Weiss’s composition didn’t appeal to Larry Newman, then president of ABC Records.

So, Newman never promoted the song, and it took people time to realize it for the musical gem it was.

Once they did, no one else wanted to sing it because Armstrong’s rich, warm vocals made for stiff competition.

It’s a beautiful song about so much more than rainbows. When rainbows crop up, they remind us to always look for the beauty in people around us, whether they’re friends, family, or strangers.

Sunday Shining by Finlay Quaye

Song Year: 1997

Shining Sunday isn’t an obvious song about rainbows. And once you start looking at the lyrics, it quickly becomes apparent it’s about several different things. They range from heroism to war.

But there is a chorus about rainbows, and it’s beautiful. It talks about how beauty refines even the most unlikely suspects. With the right person, says this chorus, we become better versions of ourselves, become rainbows, in fact.

Gravity’s Rainbow by The Klaxons

Song Year: 2006

‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ by The Klaxons gets its name from a book by Thomas Pynchon. The book explores post-World War Two Europe, especially the German production of rockets.

It’s an unlikely source of inspiration for a London-based rock band. But, title aside, ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ is more about man’s potential for destruction than rainbows.

That’s not to say rainbows have nothing to do with the lyrics. The song has the same preoccupation with discovering the infinite and searching for hope as many other songs about rainbows on this list.

But the speaker isn’t afraid to couch that search for love and beauty in mythological adventures that span time. It’s as unsettling and provocative as the novel it takes inspiration from and is all the more moving because of it.

Rainbows and Waterfalls by Pretty Lights

Rainbows and Waterfalls by Pretty Lights

Song Year: 2017

‘Rainbows and Waterfalls’ is another song about rainbows that encourages its audience to find hope in the darkness.

The grey and sere weather of the song acts as a metaphor for adversity, while the rainbow reminds us that when the storm passes, beauty follows.

‘Rainbows and Waterfalls’ also reminds us that you can only achieve a rainbow after the rain. For rewards to be meaningful, whether they are as esoteric as hope or more concrete, like rainbows, you must first brave your share of trials and tribulations.

Rainbow Love by Rob Orbison

Song Year: 1974

‘Rainbow Love’ is another optimistic song about rainbows. In it, the speaker goes looking for the end of the rainbow. They’re searching for a pot of gold or good fortune.

Instead, they find a stalwart kind of love. As the song progresses, the speaker realizes the love they find at the end of the rainbow is more meaningful than anything they could have hoped for. And its value far exceeds the gold they went looking for.

In other words, you should always chase after rainbows because you never know what you’ll find, but the search will always be worthwhile.

Rainbow by Battles

Song Year: 2007

Battles is an American rock band that debuted in 2002. Their song ‘Rainbow’ stands out for its bright, brassy energy. It features a variety of sounds, from clashing symbols to accompaniment by outsized machines that groan.

It’s not what you expect when you think about rainbows, and that’s part of what makes the song so interesting. The sound it produces doesn’t conjure delicate, lingering illuminations and light-play. Instead, it’s bold, brash, and eye-catching.

It’s ideal for musicians mucking about with friends. It’s also a powerful reminder that to achieve your dreams, you must be as unapologetically yourself as the musicians behind ‘Rainbow’ are.

Lick the Rainbow by Mord Frustang

Song Year: 2011

So far, our focus has been on songs about rainbows with lyrics. Mord Frustang’s ‘Lick the Rainbow’ stands out because it’s instrumental.

Even without words, it’s a fascinating song. The title suggests synaesthesia or senses that misfire for an enhanced experience not only of rainbows but life.

The word painting is effective. Rationally, listeners know they can’t lick the rainbow, but listening to the carefully curated harmonies of this song, it’s not hard to imagine you could.

That sense of reaching for the impossible belies the minor key that permeates the piece. It should feel sad. Instead, this evocative musical piece fills listeners with a variety of feelings. But first and foremost, they’re left believing anything is possible.

A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow by A Mighty Wind

Song Year: 2003

‘A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow’ slyly pokes fun at the 1960s folk-revival era. None of the songs sung by A Mighty Wind are genuinely folksy, as they parody the songs of the sixties that championed everything from preserving ecosystems to ending the Vietnam War.

But ‘A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow’ isn’t about a cause. It’s a sentimental look at the importance of love and the promises we make each other.

Like other songs about rainbows, the suggestion here is that at the end of the rainbow, you don’t find boundless material wealth but emotional gratification. And that, suggests A Mighty Wind, is what matters most.

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