The 20 best songs about rain

Rain – most of us don’t like it, especially here in Britain where we often get more than our fair share. Yet it’s amazing just how many songs have been inspired by droplets of cloud wee. Some love it (Prince), some hate it (Travis), and, yes, many use it as a metaphor for something else, but either way, there are more bangers about being soggy than you might have thought.

Rihanna – Umbrella

OK, so RiRi’s mega 2007 hit is actually about friendship – but how better to bond with a pal than sharing shelter when it’s pissing it down?

Travis – ‘Why Does It Always Rain On Me’?

Travis frontman Fran Healy penned this song on holiday in Israel from his native Glasgow, where he expected some sun, sun, sun. Instead, it chucked it down for two days and the inspiration behind their biggest song was born.

Prince – ‘Purple Rain’

Only someone like Prince can make rain sound as incredible and awe-inspiring as he did on this 1984 classic.

Bob Dylan – ‘A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall’

When lyrical genius Dylan released the song in 1962, everyone thought it was just a metaphor for a nuclear fall out. Turns out, it’s just about “hard rain”, not “atomic rain”. That’s sorted, then.

The Beatles – ‘Rain’

While musically they were pushing the button – this is the first song to ever feature backward vocals – the lyrics don’t push the envelope quite so much, according to Lennon: “it’s about people moaning about the weather all the time.” Liam Gallagher is a big fan of this track – Oasis were originally called The Rain, before Noel hopped on board. 

Gene Kelly – ‘Singing in the Rain’

Ever been as cheerful as Gene Kelly about getting caught in a downpour? No, us neither.

Buddy Holly – ‘Raining in My Heart’

The sun is out, the sky is blue, there’s not a cloud to spoil the view, but it’s raining, raining in my heart.” Oh, Buddy. What’s happened, pal?

Ray Charles – ‘Come Rain Or Come Shine’

Though Ray’s 1959 version is the most well-known, the loving ode was penned by Harold Arden over a decade before in 1946.

BJ Thomas – ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’

The Oscar winning Bacharach song is well known now, but before it featured in Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid it was passed around to Ray Stevens and Bob Dylan, both of whom declined the chance to record it. Eventually BJ Thomas stepped up and it subsequently became a chart-topping hit.

Creedence Clearwater Revival – ‘Have You Ever Seen The Rain?’

Initial speculation around the song suggested that the “rain” was a metaphor for the Vietnam War, but years later John Fogerty revealed that the song was actually about the group’s unhappiness at the time, despite being top of the charts. There’s that rain again, here to put a downer on ya.

Garbage – ‘Only Happy When It Rains’

It may sound like grunge legends Garbage are pleased about a bit of a shower – but guitarist Butch Vig revealed that the song was actually a mockery of the scene of the time, and the assumption that alternative artists enjoyed misery for songwriting.

Blind Melon – No Rain

The US group’s breakout song might contain lyrics about the mundane of watching pools of rain form, but the the the resulting video was certainly not ordinary and introduced us to ‘Bee Girl’ – a cult legend.

Eurythmics – ‘Here Comes The Rain Again’

Name a more British song title. Go on, I dare you.

Adele – ‘Set Fire To The Rain’

I set fire to the rain, watched it burn”,  Adele croons on the ‘21’ track, despite that being impossible – even for our Adele.

The Pogues – ‘Rainy Night in Soho’

Shane McGowan may have been singing about the lasting memories of meeting a lover in the rain back in 1985, but for millennials a ‘Rainy Night In Soho’ is probably the caption they use on Snapchat while waiting for an Uber.

The Weather Girls – ‘It’s Raining Men’

Sometimes, rain is dead boring. Sometimes, you want something that’s going to go down in history. Sometimes, you just wish it was raining men. Wish no more – The Weather Girls have got it covered.

Led Zeppelin – ‘Fool In The Rain’

Ever been stood up? Or at least think you have, and it turns out you were in the wrong place all along? Then Led Zep’s 1979 song probably speaks to you – because it is literally about exactly that.

Missy Elliot – ‘Rain’

If you find the sound of raindrops hitting your window soothing – then Missy Elliot’s song is not the one for you; “Me I’m super fly, super duper fly, I can’t stand the rain against my window”.

Basement Jaxx – Raindrops

On those lonely afternoons in June I need you / Just like raindrops” clearly the UK dance duo have never been stranded by the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury while it’s tipping it down – because that’s the last thing you want.

The Carpenters – Rainy Days and Mondays

Rainy days and Mondays always get me down”. Karen Carpenter just gets us, you know?