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Singing in the Rain
Singing in the Rain

The 20 best songs about rain

Soundtrack London’s infamous wet weather with bangers, bops and ballads all about the rain

By Kyle MacNeill, Nick Levine and Alim Kheraj
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As a nation, we love to moan and waffle on about the weather. And, all over the world, people love to sing about it too. Which is why loads of artists have written songs about rain, the most miserable of precipitation that often makes us feel soggy and soppy in equal measure. So, take cover in one of London’s cosy places to hide from the rain, and listen our choice of the best songs about the wet stuff – honestly, there are some uplifting ones, we promise...

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Duffy Rain On Your Parade

20. ‘Rain on Your Parade’ - Duffy

In the same year that Adele released ‘19’ and Amy Winehouse was winning almost every award on offer, Duffy poured onto the scene. ‘Rain on Your Parade’ was initially written to be a Bond song, and it’s easy to see why. Pulsing with precipitously towering vocals, it’s all about nipping a dodgy relationship in the bud via the evergreen imagery of rain. Please come back, Duffy. 

Selena Gomez and the Scene A Year Without Rain

19. ‘A Year Without Rain’ - Selena Gomez and the Scene

Sure, the vocals might sometimes be the equivalent of a light drizzle, but goodness Selena Gomez knows how to stuff emotion and feeling into what she’s singing. Although we’re a little concerned about her state of dehydration given her lover has only been gone for 24 hours. But then again, being in love is thirsty work. 

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Hilary Duff Come Clean

18. ‘Coming Clean’ - Hilary Duff

Who doesn’t love a metaphor about the rain’s cleansing power? Hilary Duff is most definitely a fan, even if she does want the wet weather to ‘wash away her sanity’. Whether the rain really does have such restorative powers is debatable, but one thing’s for certain: standing in a shower of British rain won’t leave you feeling all that clean. 

‘November Rain’ - Guns N’ Roses

17. ‘November Rain’ - Guns N’ Roses

Even dad-rock favourites get soppy (and soggy) now and then. Power ballad ‘November Rain’ has broken a ton of records – it’s the longest song to get into the Billboard Top 10 and the first video from the twentieth century to hit a billion views on YouTube, for example. But it’s also broken a lot of hearts and tear ducts with its soaring solos and symphonic sounds. 

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Bob Dylan The Freewheelin'

16. ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’ - Bob Dylan

Fittingly, Dylan’s 1962 ballad doesn’t have the sunniest of origins. Crafted, in his own words, as ‘one long funeral song’, it’s dripping with raw emotion and lyrics straight from the era of beat poetry. Bleak characters are everywhere: crying clowns, dying ponies, child soldiers. But it’s like an antique shilling off of eBay – vintage Bob. 

Bebu Silvetti Spring Rain

15. ‘Spring Rain’ - Bebu Silvetti

Here’s a relatively unsung instrumental from the disco era. It’s equal parts euphonic and euphoric, capturing all the giddy goodness of a spring shower. Bask in the beauty of this (when you’re not bathing in purple rain, obvs). 

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‘Rain Falls’ - Frankie Knuckles (David’s Soakin’ Wet Mix)

14. ‘Rain Falls’ - Frankie Knuckles (David’s Soakin’ Wet Mix)

A tears on the dancefloor moment. Opening with Lisa Michaelis’s sultry spoken word intro and background rain sounds, it’s a classic piano house tune that gets even the most dampened of spirits grooving. You’ve got to hand it to Knuckles… geddit? 

Adele Set Fire to the Rain

13. ‘Set Fire to the Rain’ - Adele

Bingo! We’ve got another full-house winner of Adele Bingo. Huge chorus? Check. String section? Gotcha. Perfect bridge? You bet. Scientifically unsound as the title may seem, it’s actually based on, in Adele’s own words, a time ‘when mah lightah stopped workin’ in the wet.’ Classic Adele, all round.

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The Carpenters Rainy Days and Mondays

12. ‘Rainy Days and Mondays’ - The Carpenters

The Carpenters knew that nothing makes you feel more reflective or existential than the combination of rainy days and, well, Mondays. Given that it’s so profound, it might surprise you to learn that the line ‘What I’ve got they used to call the blues’ was actually written on the way to present the song to the record label. It’s proof that, like a surprise shower of rain, inspiration can come at you real fast. 

Travis Why Does it Always Rain on Me

11. ‘Why Does it Always Rain on Me?’ - Travis

Soft rock tunes like Travis’ ‘Why Does it Always Rain on Me’ might get a regular bollocking, but they’re quite nice, innit. The backstory of the tune is that frontman Fran Healy went on holiday to Israel to escape rainy Glasgow. Turns out, though, that it even rained there: kind of like one of those cartoon clouds following you around. Scarily, the second they started playing this tune at Glastonbury 1999, the heavens opened. You couldn’t make it up.

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Beatles

10. ‘Rain’ - The Beatles

Preceding ‘Revolver’ with its psychedelic undertones, this song's lyrics might be cryptically simple – but hey, it’s definitely about rain. Like plenty of the Beatles’ best mid-to-late-period tunes, it was (allegedly) inspired by LSD and weed (now that’s a rainy day in!) and its cleverly reversed vocals give it a fittingly woozy quality that’s both trippy and drippy. 

‘Kiss the Rain’ - Billie Myers

9. ‘Kiss the Rain’ - Billie Myers

Playing this song will automatically make you feel like you’re in an episode of ‘Dawson's Creek’. It's a shame, then, that it's not remembered a bit better – despite being a UK Top 10 hit – because of its singer, Billie Myers, and the rapid evaporation of her career. Still, it’s a ’90s dream if there ever was one. 

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Weather Girls It's Raining Men

8. ‘It's Raining Men' - The Weather Girls

Even though it went on to sell 6 million copies worldwide, the success of the Weather Girls’ classic wasn’t forecast. Diana Ross, Donna Summer, Cher and Barbra Streisand all turned the tune down – which is ironic because whenever we hear it we want to turn it up. More kitsch ’80s goodness than you can shake a rainstick at. 

‘The Rain' (Supa Dupa Fly)’ - Missy Elliott

7. ‘The Rain' (Supa Dupa Fly)’ - Missy Elliott

Expertly produced by beatmaker-cum-rainmaker Timbaland, this one samples already rainy tune ‘I Can't Stand the Rain’ by Ann Peebles. Missy spits lyrics about spitting (‘Until the rain starts, coming down, pouring chill’), and drops droplet-referencing zingers (‘I smoke my hydro on the dee-low’). Oh, and trivia fans might like to know that Beenie Man’s classic ‘Sim simma, who got the keys to my Bimmer?’ line references this tune's ‘Beep beep! Who’s got the keys to my Jeep?’ bar. 

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Rihanna Umbrella

6. ‘Umbrella’ - Rihanna

Though it’s been horribly overplayed at cheese nights worldwide, this one’s still a certified classic. It has everything a pop juggernaut needs – a banging feature (Jay-Z as the ‘Rainman’), a huge chorus (from Rihanna as ‘Little Ms. Sunshine’) and more hooks than a clueless cod’s cakehole. 

Madonna Rain

5. ‘Rain’ - Madonna

Madonna has so many bangers that ‘Rain’ often slips through the umbrella of her discography. It shouldn’t – it’s a classic break-up song, fit with some great forecasting. Forget weather reports or cows lying down – Madge will be able to tell you: ‘I feel it coming / it’s coming / rain’.  

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Eurythmics Here Comes the Rain Again

4. ‘Here Comes the Rain Again’ - Eurythmics

‘Here comes the rain again’ isn’t just one of the buzz phrases of British culture. It’s also the title of this Eurythmics number, which expertly blends bleakness with little droplets of euphoric sound. Oh, and back in the day, Alex Parks (remember her?) gave us a suitably moody cover version on underrated BBC talent show ‘Fame Academy’.

Fleetwood Mac Dreams

3. ‘Dreams’ - Fleetwood Mac

Someone needs to send Stevie Nicks to a meteorologist because thunder certainly can happen when it’s not raining. But in her defence, this song is one of the most majestic break-up songs ever written, feeling melancholy and restorative in equal measure. Perhaps, in this instance, the white witch can be forgiven. 

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Gene Kelly Singing In the Rain

2. ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ - Gene Kelly

Sure, the rain may dampen our moods – and many days a year, at that. But Gene Kelly’s rendition of this classic film’s classic number is all about skipping along in blissful ignorance at the pissing clouds above you. ‘I'm laughin’ at clouds / So dark up above’ says it all – so whack two soggy fingers up at any sadness and tap-dance your way to a big ol’ grin. 

Prince Purple Rain

1. ‘Purple Rain’ - Prince

Before the Wetherspoons’ cocktail came one of the finest songs ever penned, produced and performed. You’ve heard it, watched it and belted it out more times than any memory could remember, so here are the words of the Purple One himself:  ‘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.’ Yeah, what he said.

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