When it comes to rain, people either love it or hate it. The same goes for musicians. Rain is a subject that has often cropped up in songs throughout the decades. These songs about rain either celebrate those cold and wet days or paint them as depressing times. Many artists also use rain as a metaphor for something with a deeper meaning.
Whatever the reason, these 30 bangers about the rain will have you grooving along and toasting to the rainy season.
The 30 Best Songs About Rain
1. Rihanna – Umbrella (ft. Jay-Z)
Originally written for Britney Spears and then rejected by Mary J. Blige, Umbrella eventually found its way to Rihanna. With a feature from Jay-Z (who co-wrote the track), the song became a massive hit for the Barbados singer, even winning a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2008 ceremony.
Although the song is actually about friendship and the strength of a relationship, it’s still a fantastic song about the rain with a great music video clip to match.
2. Prince – Purple Rain
When you talk about monster hits, it doesn’t get any bigger than Purple Rain. Considered one of Prince’s best, this is classic 80s rock pop with splashes of R&B. It’s the type of overindulgent rock opera you expect from a character like Prince.
Many have wondered about the meaning of the song. NME found out from the horse’s mouth, with Prince having this to say about the epic tune: “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.”
3. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
Released at the peak of their powers, this is a somewhat depressing tune from Southern rockers Creedence Clearwater Revival. While the song talks about a sunshower (“It’ll rain a sunny day”), the rain in question is the trouble that was brewing in the CCR camp. Having finally achieved fame and fortune, inner turmoil was creating issues between the group. Just a year after its release the band would break up, with lead singer John Fogerty’s predictions of the band’s end coming true.
4. Led Zeppelin – The Rain Song
You can’t exclude a song called The Rain Song from a list of songs about the rain. One of hard rockers Led Zeppelin’s more chilled songs, this near eight-minute ballad was written in response to something said by The Beatles George Harrison.
Talking with Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, he is believed to have said the problem with the band is they can’t write ballads. When Jimmy Page heard this he wrote The Rain Song in response. Pretty good answer in our view.
5. Guns N’ Roses – November Rain
Arguably Guns N’ Roses’ greatest song, November Rain is another epic ballad appearing on this list. Running close to nine minutes long, the song is based around a heartfelt piano line and Axel Rose’s depressing lyrics about heartbreak. The song has a swirling orchestral feel with the lyrics based on the short story Without You by Del James.
Then there’s the film clip, which is just as incredible as the song itself. The music video intercuts footage of the band playing live with scenes of Rose marrying his partner (Rose’s then-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour) and then mourning her death. Oh yeah, Slash also shows up in the desert and rocks out during his guitar solo.
6. Travis – Why Does It Always Rain on Me?
Travis’ breakthrough single is a song with rain in the title that’s actually about rain. Frontman Fran Healy, who hails from rain Glasgow, headed to Israel for a holiday as he was told it’s always warm, even during winter. While there the weather turned bad and it began to rain, sparking the idea for this post-Brit pop number.
7. Bob Dylan – A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall
This track is a credit to Bob Dylan’s incredible songwriting. When first released, many believed there to be a deeper meaning to the lyrics. Some thought it was about nuclear fallout, others believed it was a pure protest song, while some said it was about wanting to leave your hometown and escape the boredom of small-town life. These are all wrong, with Dylan explaining it’s just about hard rain. Sometimes a song is as simple as it seems.
8. Gene Kelly – Singin’ in the Rain
The highlight of the film Singin’ in the Rain is when Gene Kelly sings the title track. It’s an iconic movie moment as Kelly dances down the street with his umbrella and, you guessed it, sings in the rain. This song has had a massive cultural impact and features in dozens of other movies and has been covered by more artists than you can poke a stick at, including Dean Martin, Diana Krall, and Elton John.
9. Tim McGraw – She’s My Kind of Rain
When it comes to country songs, they are usually about love, loss, loneliness, and life, and this ditty from Tim McGraw is no different. It’s a love song dedication where McGraw sings “She’s my kind of rain/like love from a drunken sky.” He makes a few more obscure references to confetti and a dreaming tree, with the bottom line being he really loves his lady friend.
10. The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men
Now, this is a tune. It doesn’t get any more 80s than It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls. A boisterous pop explosion with a catchy chorus, the song topped the Billboard US Hot Dance Club Play charts and turned The Weather Girls into stars.
Often cited as a gay anthem, the song is also recognized as part of the Hi-NRG genre of music, which comprises dance songs with uptempo beats and pulsating basslines inspired by the early disco scene.
11. Eddie Rabbitt – I Love a Rainy Night
12 years in the making, I Love a Rainy Night was a massive hit for country artist Eddie Rabbitt. Getting his start writing songs for Elvis Presley, Rabbitt went solo in the 70s and had several charting songs, including this one. Featuring hand claps and finger snaps, Rabbit sings about his love of thunderstorms and how the end of the rain brings new hope to him moving forward.
12. The Beatles – Rain
This song is classically British. It’s about English folk complaining about the weather. Written by John Lennon during the Revolver sessions, the song never appeared on any of The Beatles’ albums. It was instead released as a B-side to single Paperback Writer. It’s a decidedly gloomy song lacking the upbeat feel of most Beatles compositions. That said, Ringo Starr believes his drumming performance is the best he’s ever recorded in the studio.
13. BJ Thomas. – Rain Drops Keep Fallin’ on My Head
This isn’t the sort of song you would associate with a cowboy movie, but that’s exactly what it was meant for. Written by the powerful songwriting duo of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Rain Drops Keep Fallin’ on My Head is part of the soundtrack for George Roy Hill’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Ray Stevens and Bob Dylan both reportedly turned it down, with singer BJ Thomas eventually getting the nod. It went on to win Oscars for Best Original Song and Best Original Score at the 1970 Academy Awards.
14. Garbage – Only Happy When It Rains
This hit from Garbage is a tongue-in-cheek dig at the music industry in the mid-90s. While it sounds like the band only finds joy when it rains, the lyrics are actually a jab at the grunge scene and other bands’ obsession with writing dark and depressing songs with no levity. When it’s all said and done, this is just a great alternate rock tune that helped Garbage break into the States.
15. Blind Melon – Rain
Another classic 90s hit, Rain is Blind Melon’s biggest hit, with its popularity helped by the music video featuring the iconic Bee Girl. The song is a metaphor for depression and not wanting to confront the day when you wake up. It’s a certified 90s banger and one of the great songs of that era of music.
16. The Temptations – I Wish It Would Rain
Here’s a bit of Motown to get you in a good mood. The Temptations’ lead singer David Ruffin narrates a tale of a heartbroken man hoping it rains to hide his tears. Sure, the lyrics are sad, but the instrumentation is rather upbeat and will have you tapping your foot along to the beat. A great song about a rainy day and why they aren’t that bad.
17. Adele – Set Fire To the Rain
There aren’t too many modern songs about rain on this list, but Adele certainly delivers with this track taken from her album monster album 21. Adele’s third Billboard number one in a row, Set Fire To the Rain is a roaring pop ballad about the end of a relationship. Adele’s voice is on full display as she sings about the “side to you that I never knew.”
18. Phil Collins – I Wish It Would Rain Down
While most people can’t stand the rain, Phil Collins wishes it would absolutely pour down. This is an 80s power ballad that hits all the right notes. Featuring Eric Clapton on guitar and a large gospel choir, this is one of Collins’ most challenging vocal performances.
The accompanying black and white music video plays like a mini-movie where Collins, a drummer who is part of a musical, steps in for a sick singer and goes on to become a mega star. Unfortunately, this is just a dream, as his performance is cut and he remains a drummer in a band.
19. Missy Elliot – The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)
Missy Elliot announced herself to the rap world with this Timberland production. Sampling Ann Peebles’ 1973 single I Can’t Stand the Rain, Elliot’s raps are a little all over the shop, but they suit Timbo’s minimal production.
The song’s popularity is helped greatly by the music video. Directed by Hype Williams, it features Elliot in an inflated suit resembling a trash bag (a big “fuck you” to the critics who body-shamed her) and cameos from a string of 90s hip-hop icons, including Lil’ Kim, Da Brat, and Puff Daddy.
20. Gary Allan – Songs About Rain
Poor old Gary Allan. Still suffering from the heartbreak of his last relationship, he finds himself driving around in circles listening to songs about rain on the radio. This is your typical country tune about heartbreak that references a slew of other songs about rain, including Rainy Night in Georgia by Brook Benton, Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain by Willie Nelson, and Early Morning Rain by Gordon Lightfoot.
21. James Taylor – Fire and Rain
Possibly the best song James Taylor ever wrote, Fire and Rain is a tribute to his friend Suzanne Schnerr, who died by suicide. It also deals with Taylor’s struggles with drug addiction and depression and how he dealt with the fame and fortune that came with being a successful musician. It’s a beautiful acoustic guitar song with Taylor in full voice.
22. Garth Brooks – Every Time That It Rains
Here’s a typical country and western song from country music superstar Garth Brooks. Never released as a single, Every Time That It Rains is a favorite amongst fans. Like most country songs, it’s about lost love, with Brooks reminiscing about a previous relationship while stuck in Austin airport due to bad weather.
23. Eurythmics – Here Comes the Rain Again
This British hit features a pulsating beat, orchestra strings, and a decidedly dancey vibe. It’s composed as a melancholy song about depression that ebbs and flows. It was a big hit for the duo of Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart despite failing to reach the top of the charts.
24. Duffy – Rain on Your Parade
Welsh songstress Duffy dropped the depressing love ballads for an uptempo soul song with Rain on Your Parade. Noted for sounding like a Bond theme, thanks to the addition of a string section, it’s a powerful song that suits Duffy’s incredible vocals.
25. Madonna – Rain
The fifth single from Madonna’s Erotica album is a sensual R&B meets pop ballad with a striking music film clip from director Mark Romanek. Rain doesn’t have the overt sexuality of many of the tracks on Erotica but still fits in well with the themes of the record.
26. Ray Charles – Come Rain or Come Shine
Written for the Broadway musical St. Louis Woman, Come Rain or Come Shine has been covered by a plethora of artists over the years. Etta James, BB King, and Frank Sinatra have all given it a crack, but in our opinion, the best version is by the late, great, Ray Charles. A slow piano-driven ballad, Charles included the song on his 1959 album The Genius of Ray Charles.
27. Bruno Mars – It Will Rain
Written for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Pt. 1, this pop ballad from Bruno Mars is all about heartbreak and loss, a subject Mars writes about a lot. Some music critics have compared it to the Rolling Stones’ Wild Horses, which is a bit of a stretch, but it is a wonderfully melodic tune showcasing Mars’ strength as a singer and songwriter.
28. Trisha Yearwood – Georgia Rain
Country singer Trisha Yearwood remembers the time she spent in love under the “Georgia rain.” Returning to her childhood home, she describes how things have changed but still remain the same as the rain falls, reminding her of the good times.
29. Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande – Rain on Me
Two of the biggest names in pop teamed up for this anthemic celebration about overcoming life’s hardships. Both artists are in fine form and gel together well. The music video is also exceptional, with Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande performing in the rain in various outlandish costumes. Gaga’s little rap is a little on the nose though.
30. Basement Jaxx – Raindrops
To finish off, here is a joyous dance thumper from UK act Basement Jaxx. Accompanied by a psychedelic music video, Raindrops is an uplifting house tune with a disco influence. Great for putting on and dancing around the house when it’s raining outside.