Thunder and lightning have been used as a symbol to represent many things in music and literature. In country music, pop, rap, rock, and more, they can be used to represent desire or stand-in for rock and roll. Many of these songs use storms to infer religion or to make reference to a disruption in their lives.
No matter why these songs use these storm signals, it's easy to see that these are the best songs about thunder and lightning. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rain.
“Thunder Rolls” by Garth Brooks
This song is about a tumultuous relationship experiencing difficulties like cheating, which is mirrored by the stormy weather outside. The song was written by Garth Brooks, but first recorded by Tanya Tucker.
Brooks decided to record his version for his album No Fences, and despite the video being banned from TV for its upsetting content, the song became a number one hit.
“Thunder” by Imagine Dragons
This song was Imagine Dragons’ fourth single to reach the top ten on the U.S. Billboard Charts. The song is about someone refusing to conform to the standards set before them, instead making waves by being the lighting and thunder – an event that stands out among other weather.
“Thunder and Lightning” by Phil Collins
This song came from the debut album of Phil Collins after becoming the frontman of the band Genesis. The album itself was a super success, reaching number one on the U.K. Charts, and it has since sold over 6 million copies worldwide.
Like many songs on this list, the storm is used to represent the desire that two young people feel for each other. This is a common use of symbolism in literature too!
“Thunder” by Prince and The New Power Generation
This song has many of the classic theological elements seen in several other songs on this list but with Prince’s signature funk sound that keeps the song high energy. The song was the opener of his 1991 album and is allegedly about his realization that he needed to withhold his infamous Black Album.
“Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen
This famous Bruce Springsteen song is about do-or-die pressure, using many of the themes Springsteen is famous for using. The song was titled after a movie of the same name, which Springsteen admitted he never actually saw.
Since its release in 1975, it has become one of his staple hits and the Boss continues to perform it at concerts.
“Thunderstruck” by AC/DC
This song begins with one of the most famous riffs in rock music and is easily among the top of AC/DC’s most recognizable and critically acclaimed songs. The song is about surprising someone positively – much like a hit of thunder and lighting, without the rain, may cause.
“Riders on the Storm” by The Doors
Frequently considered one of The Doors’ best songs of all time, this song has continued to play on classic rock radio and was inducted into the grammy hall of fame forty years after its release. The song was inspired after the band tried playing “Ghostriders in the Sky” and decided to do their twist on the classic.
The song, which features thunder throughout as part of the musical score, was the final recording from Jim Morrison.
“I’m No Stranger to the Rain” by Keith Whitley
This song was released as the final single on Keith Whitley’s last album, making it the last single released during his life. He passed away the same year it was released. The song, which is about surviving hardships represented by thunderstorms, hit number one in the United States.
“God of Thunder” by Kiss
This song uses a variety of sound effects – including zippers, clapping, children, and more – to create this famous Kiss sound. The song is considered one of the best Kiss hits of all time and acts as a theme song of some sort for the band. The lyrics themselves are about being the god of thunder, which represents rock and roll.
“I’ll Be Thunder” by Tina Turner
This song is the final track on Tina Turner’s album Break Every Rule. The lyrics are about two people who, when they come together, are like thunder and lightning, making a storm. However, they can’t stop coming back to each other.
“Knock on Wood” by Eddie Floyd
This song was first released by Eddie Floyd in 1966, but has since been covered by everyone from David Bowie to Otis Redding and many more.
The love song was written during a lightning storm, which was where the references to thunder and lighting came from. Floyd’s version of the song earned a gold certification in the 90s.
“Thunder” by Lana Del Rey
This song comes from Lana Del Rey’s stripped-down album Blue Bannisters, which was positively received by critics. The song is about leaving someone, regarding thunder being a forewarning her relationship will end, and lighting (along with the fire caused by lighting) showing the relationship’s demise.
“Lightning Strikes” by Ozzy Osbourne
This song is Ozzy Osbourne’s promise that he won’t stop playing rock and roll music until lightning strikes in the same place twice – which, as many people know, is very rare. Since the lovingly called “Godfather of Metal” has still been touring, it appears he’s telling the truth!
“When the Levee Breaks” by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie
This song was the first sung by the Delta Blues legends Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie, both of whom were major influences on blues and rock music. The song went on to be covered by the likes of Led Zeppelin, who added their psychedelic spin to the song.
The lyrics are about the storm that caused the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, which caused the death of around 500 people.
“Distant Thunder” by Richard Clapton
This song is the title track for Richard Clapton’s 1993 album. The song is about a man pursuing a former partner once again, alluding to the distant storm as the inevitability of their rendezvous.
“Thunder and Lightning” by Thin Lizzy
This is the title track for Thin Lizzy’s final album. Like many songs on this list, thunder and lightning is a reference to rock and roll and the lifestyle that accompanies those on tour. In this case, the speaker enjoys their life on the edge, always near the danger of the storm.
“Thunder in My Heart” by Leo Sayer
This disco song has a classic 70s sound and is about a speaker that is drawn to someone that they’re not sure they should be with. The song hit the charts in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. A dance remix was released in 2006, nearly 30 years after the original, which once again hit the U.K. charts.
“Hurricane” by Luke Combs
This song was Luke Combs' debut single, and what a debut it was – it has received 3x platinum certification and sold over 600,000 copies. The song follows a speaker that is out on the town when they unexpectedly run into an old flame, which causes damage to him that is comparable to being hit by thunder, lighting, and a hurricane.
“Thunder and Lightning” by Meredith Brooks
This song is about the speaker thinking about her lover, who she compares to a thunderstorm. Both scare and excite her at the same time, keeping the relationship exciting for both people involved.
“That Summer” by Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks often uses thunder and lightning imagery in his songs, which is why he’s the only artist on this list featured more than once. The song is about an older woman having an affair with a younger man throughout the summer.
In this case, thunder and lightning represent desire, something that both the narrator and the woman are chasing after.
“Revolution” by Bob Marley
Like much of Bob Marley’s music, this song is about the importance to fight the status quo to create large-scale change. The song, which refers to revelations and revolution, refers to both lightning and thunder alongside brimstone and fire, equating them to large-scale biblical acts.
“Thunder Kiss ‘65” by White Zombie
This heavy metal song was released as a single three different times before it finally caught the attention of the public – more importantly, the attention of Mike Judge, who aired the video on his show Beavis and Butt-Head. The song went on to get a Grammy nod.
“I Don’t Do Drugs” by Doja Cat
In this song, Doja Cat talks about being addicted to her lover. She is willing to go through storms full of thunder and lightning to be with this person that she needs so desperately. The song was released in collaboration with the singer Ariana Grande, making this their third collaboration together.
“I Love A Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt
The song was written after Eddie Rabbitt heard a fragment of a song he had worked on in the 60s. Hearing that tape, he remembered looking out the window and watching the rain come down. From that, the song was born, which is about finding joy in thunderstorms passing.
The song hit number one on the US Billboard charts and has since been certified gold. It continues to find popularity today.
“Lightning Strikes the Postman” by The Flaming Lips
This song was on the album Clouds Taste Metallic, which was not commercially successful when it was released. However, it has since gone on to be critically acclaimed and has achieved cult status among fans and music lovers.
“Blinding” by Florence and the Machine
This song came from Florence and the Machine’s debut album, Lungs, which has gone multi-platinum. The song tells of a speaker trying to leave a life that is wrong for her but trapped in a dream-like state. She is awoken by the natural occurrences of thunder and lightning, forcing her to see how wrong things truly are.
“Crying Lightning” by the Arctic Monkeys
This was the first single from the band’s third album, which was a departure from the upbeat sounds of their previous work. This song is about those who cry to get sympathy, which can result in mascara making a lightning bolt appearance on their cheeks – thus, the term crying lightning.
“Johnny Thunder” by The Kinks
This song is a ballad, telling the story of a rebellious biker who is unlike anyone else in town. He feeds on lightning, meaning he lives for the wild adventures he goes on. He can only be affected by a woman named Helena. The song was inspired by the Marlon Brando movie, The Wild One.
“Thunder” by Boys Like Girls
This song was the final single released from the band’s debut album. The song is about a relationship ending, and the speaker welcomes the storm about to come as they prepare to leave the situation. The song didn’t chart as well as the band’s other early singles, but did become certified Gold.
“The Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash
This song was one of the final pieces that Cash wrote and worked on before his death. The lyrics make many references to the Bible. The spoken intro, which references thunder, comes from the Book of Revelation about the apocalypse. Since its release, this song has become frequently used in movies and tv shows.
“Thundering Hearts” by John Mellencamp
This song was on John Mellencamp’s album American Fool, which was his commercial breakthrough. The album was number one on the Billboard charts for nine weeks and featured many of his most famous hits. Much like the rest of the album, this song is about young summer love.
“Angel From Montgomery” by John Prine
John Prine wrote this song in 1971. The song uses thunder and lightning to represent a desire that has been building within the speaker. Since its release, the song has been recorded by Carly Simon, Bonnie Koloc, and many others, though the most famous version might be Bonnie Raitt’s recording.
“The Storm” by Sturgill Simpson
In this song, thunder and lightning represent the intense emotions in the speaker’s mind after a breakup. He claims that the storm in his mind could subside, but only if his former partner would return to him and give their relationship another chance.
“Like the Rain” by Clint Black
This country ballad is about a man who did not enjoy storms until he takes a walk through the rain with his lover, giving him a new appreciation for the often difficult weather. The song was Clint Black’s tenth number one hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and snagged him a Grammy nomination.
“The Wheel” by Jerry Garcia
This psychedelic rock song came from legendary Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia's debut solo album. The song is about the passage of time, promising that everything comes around eventually.
While this song started as a solo venture, it has since become a regular feature at many Grateful Dead concerts.
“The Foxfire Suite” by John Denver
This song isn’t one of John Denver’s biggest hits, but it has become an underground fan favorite for many. The song has a speaker reflecting on their time in the mountains of the east coast, which connects them to the past and nature as well as their current relationships.
“Downbound Train” by Chuck Berry
This song follows the proverbial train to hell, a symbol that has been referenced in many religious songs before and after Chuck Berry released this song. Thunder and lightning often represent anger or incite fire in religious texts, so it is not surprising many songs on this list have religious undertones.
“Thunder and Lightning Pola” by Johann Strauss II
Johann Strauss II has become solidified in music history for his waltzes, but he composed in many other genres, including marches and polkas. This polka uses instruments to represent thunder and lightning in an upbeat, energetic way that has inspired many to dance throughout time.
“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac
From their album Rumors, this song is one of Fleetwood Mac’s most beloved contributions to rock music. Stevie Nicks was dealing with a breakup from fellow band member Lindsey Buckingham when she wrote this song. The song continues to be popular, and has re-entered the charts on several occasions since it was first put out by the band.
“Switch On Your Radio” by Maurice White
This song came from the Earth, Wind, & Fire co-founder on his first solo album. The song received praise for its studio mechanics, and as a whole, the album was received positively. In this song, the thunder and lightning are a stand-in for something that excites the listener.
“Storm In A Shot Glass” by Reba McEntire
One of Reba McEntire’s newer hits, this song comes from her album Stronger Than the Truth. This song in particular describes a woman who drinks from what the speaker describes as a storm in a shot glass, getting progressively more dangerous – much like a storm that has been brewing.
“Don’t Let Go” by Roy Hamilton
This song hit number two on the R&B charts for Roy Hamilton in the 50s and has been covered dozens of times since the song’s initial release. Hamilton had already achieved notoriety for his song, “Unchained Melody,” and this song helped cement him as a singer deeply associated with 50s music.
“Hang On In There Baby” by Johnny Bristol
This Motown song hit the top ten on multiple Billboard Charts and has since been referred to as Johnny Bristol’s single most famous solo song. Like many of the others on this list, this song uses thunder to demonstrate passionate love.
Top Songs About Thunder And Lightning, Final Thoughts
These are the best songs about thunder and lightning, and many of these singles have won awards and are popular decades after their initial releases.
In many cases, they use thunder and lighting to represent something deeper in the song, giving the lyrics a fuller meaning. Whether it’s love lost or love found, a religious breakthrough, or a love for rock, we can all understand the sentiment behind these songs.