Singin’ in the Rain

It has rained each of the last five days and we expect five more ahead. In the middle of this sogginess, it is easy to reflect on the various emotions portrayed within songs about the rain.

Arguably the most famous is the title song from Gene Kelly’s movie “Singin’ in the Rain.” Here are the opening lines in this playfully happy song, exceeded only by Kelly’s wonderful dancing:

“I’m singin’ in the rain, just singin’ in the rain. What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again.”

This is only the first few of many raindrops in song. One of my favorites is one of two great songs by Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Have you ever seen the rain?” The other is also good, “Who’ll stop the rain?” Here is an excerpt from the first song noted:

“Someone told me long ago
There’s a calm before the storm
I know it’s been comin’ for some time
When it’s over so they say
It’ll rain a sunny day
I know shinin’ down like water.”

One of the best voices to sing about the rain is Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics in “Here comes the rain again.” She sings of wanting to be with a lover while it storms, as noted in this splash of lyrics:

“Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you.”

The emotions range in these and other songs from melancholy to happiness, from love to lust and from worry to fear. Eric Clapton’s “Let it rain” has a wonderful guitar lick which seasons this great song which is about just letting the rain wash over us. Two pop songs from the 1970s that sold millions were on the opposite ends of emotions – “Raindrops are falling on my head” by Burt Bacharach and “Rainy days and Mondays” by The Carpenters.

An older song which is about sadness is Brook Benton’s “Rainy night in Georgia” who “feels it must be raining all over the world.” Others include Bob Dylan’s “A hard rain’s gonna fall, Adele’s “Set fire to the rain,” and “Rain” by The Beatles.

Let me close with the most colorful title by a colorful, talented and enigmatic performer named Prince. His movie title song of “Purple Rain” truly brings the house down as he comes to terms with a father’s suicide attempt and his anger that pushes his lover away. Here is an excerpt:

“I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain.”

Any list of rainy songs will leave off a number of others. Let me know some of your favorites. As CCR sang “who’ll stop the rain.”

39 thoughts on “Singin’ in the Rain

  1. The American Trio ‘The Walker Brothers’ who were very popular in the UK in the 1960s produced a number of haunting ballads; this is a little known one, which carries so much atmosphere and image of rain and unhappiness

    The Saddest Night in The World

    On the saddest night in the world, I lost my way, I lost a girl
    And the rain came down in the streets, blinding the way, I wait for days
    All night long I’ve been wondering how I’ll carry on
    Without you all the things that ever mattered all fell through
    On the saddest night in the world, shop window girls, smiled through the rain
    And the wet, grey figure called me looks for a man he used to be
    Out of love, you’ve been running with you head held high
    I said that it wouldn’t matter, now without you I wanna die
    And the rain-drenched old lady selling flowers in the street
    Knows you’re gone…

    That ‘rain-drenched old lady selling flowers in the street’ still sends shivers up and down me.

    • Roger, you are so right. This paints a vivid picture of the shadows of our former selves and the impact on others when we lose a piece of us. I love the reference to the “grey figure.” Keith

      • Indeed Keith
        You can imagine how that was resonating with a teenage lad who was then not having luck with the girls…. (oh ‘happy’ days)

      • Roger, love and loneliness. The two sided coin. I remember moving to a new city after college and feeling more of the latter. You do learn how to manage, but it is hard nonetheless. Keith

    • Roger, I was reacquainting myself with one of their biggest songs that kind of fits this topic, “The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore.” Keith

  2. You are getting it all while we dry up! We have had less than 1/2 inch of rain this entire month! Can’t you send some of it our way?? Rain would NOT make us unhappy!

      • Don’t send him any, Keith, for along about October, he will try to send it back in the form of snow! He’s a sneaky one, that old Prof! 😉

      • Jill, snow in October would be unusual here. But, with these new weather patterns due to climate change, who knows? Keith

    • Janis, hopefully much of it will drain into your water table and reservoirs. I keep thinking of those unquenchable forest fires. Keith

      • Janis, the above is a misread of your point. I will wish more rain your way as it needs to fill the water table. Keith

    • Agreed. The sun peaking through the clouds is life enhancing. We traveled to the mountains for a graduation yesterday and when the sun peeked out lighting the mountain flora, it was beautiful. This was after a dreary morning.

  3. Note to Readers: Two more songs come to mind, one of which can be found in one of the suggested posts at the bottom – “Rainy day people” by Gordon Lightfoot. Another is a lesser known song by Jim Croce called “Alabama rain,” which is worth a listen.

  4. Dear Keith,

    Florida has also been withstanding days of rain. We are used to afternoon showers. I hate driving in the rain. Yesterday, I drove in the morning to have lunch early and to catch a movie with a friend. Because the forecast called for evening showers, I rushed home after the movie just to beat the rain.

    We saw the movie “Book Club”which was far from a literary masterpiece but it was fun.

    I don’t mind the rain. These are days set aside to listen to music, to read a book and to enjoy a great cup of tea and an occasional glass of wine. But even this gets old after several days.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, being from Jacksonville, I am familiar with the daily t-storms. My wife wants to see the Book Club with her girlfriends. I will pass along your review.

      I saw a piece where the four stars laugh about the actors in the moving. One would say she played his wife, girlfriend in other movies about the husband, boyfriend of another actress in this movie. For example, Craig T. Nelson played Diane Keaton’s husband in another movie, but he is Mary Steenburgen’s on this one.


  5. Ahhh … so many songs to love. Like you, we have had mostly rain ever since the snow stopped, and sunshine has become a rarity. I think Roger may have shared some of the UK weather with us. I don’t mind the rain, but really do miss the sun. Now, I wonder which of these songs will be stuck in my head later today? I’m guessing Rainy Night in Georgia, but we shall see. Thanks for the fun post, Keith!!!

      • Cool coincidence! When I first read your post early this afternoon, it was sunny, but by around 5:00, it was back to thunderstorms. At least no tornado warnings so far this year … knock on wood.

    • Erika, please soak it in. Did I miss any of your favorite rain songs? Check out my last response to Jill, where I start s an old song. Keith

      • Erika, I am familiar with the former, but will need to check out the latter. Thanks for sharing, Keith

      • Erika, I checked out Shakin’ Stevens singing this. He looks like a young Ricky Nelson. I think this is a much older than song than he was when he sang it.

        By the way, as I was searching for the lyrics, I was reminded of a definitive song by of all groups, The Weather Girls called “It’s raining men.” I could see you belting this one out on stage with your voice and joie de vivre.

    • Pete, well you bookended pop/ rock music of the times. I love me some Hendrix, but he would never be confused with The Cowsills. I did read that Hendrix opened for The Monkees, but they realized very early that was a bad mix – guys who could barely play with arguably the greatest guitarist ever.

      Thanks for sharing. Keith

  6. Note to Readers: I mention in an earlier comment about Gordon Lightfoot’s “Rainy day people.” Since I have shared before that my wife is one of these people, her are the first few lines:

    “Rainy day people always seem to know when it is time to call.

    Rainy day people don’t talk, they just listen ’til they’ve heard it all.”

    May we all have rainy day people in our lives. Keith

  7. Note to Readers: I was hoping to hear from some country music fans, as there are a number of rainy country songs. As for CCR having two rainy songs, with their vast body of work, it is not a surprise to see them revisit a theme. If you like CCR as I do, there is a suggested link at the bottom of this post to an older post in tribute.

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