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Rain songs
Image: TimeOut/Bruce Alan Bennett/Shutterstock

The 25 greatest songs about rain

Fill your next dreary day with ballads, bangers and soul songs about the rain.

Written by
Nick Levine
,
Kyle MacNeill
,
Alim Kheraj
&
Andy Kryza
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From the rain-soaked streets of London to the alleys of Portland, people love to complain about rain. But people the world over also love to sing about the rain, which is why precipitation has become a go-to topic for artists across all genres. It's not all sadness and metaphors for weeping, either. Sure, you'll find some tears amid the 25 songs below, but you'll also find psychedelic classics, joyful club bangers and wet-hot disco jams. Together, they constitute the ultimate rainy-day playlist. Don't worry about the rain, either. Rihanna brought her umbrella. 

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"Purple Rain" by Prince
Image: Warner Bros. Records

1. "Purple Rain" by 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.

"Singin’ in the Rain" by Gene Kelly
Image: MGM

2. "Singin’ in the Rain" by 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. 

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"I Wish It Would Rain" by The Temptations
Image: Motown Records

3. "I Wish It Would Rain" by The Temptations

One of the vocal group most heartbroken efforts, The Temptations' slow, deliberate and swelling hit is essentially a prayer for rain to hide the fact that they've been uncontrollably crying after losing yet another love. It's as devastating as it is catchy. 

"The Rain Song" by Led Zeppelin
Image: Atlantic

4. "The Rain Song" by Led Zeppelin

"Upon us all, upon us all, a little rain must fall" Robert Plant entones on one the most mythically charged, Tolkein-esque The Song Remains the Same track, which is really saying something. The song is pure atmosphere, an evocative daydream that tours the seasons of the psyche with the quartet's signature bravado. 

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"Here Comes the Rain Again" by the Eurythmics
Image: RCA

5. "Here Comes the Rain Again" by the 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.

"Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac
Image: Warner Bros. Music

6. "Dreams" by 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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"Rain on Me" by Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande
Image: Interscope

7. "Rain on Me" by Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande

In the darkest, driest days of the pandemic, Gaga and Ariana emerged from the darkness to drop a wet-hot banger destined for eternal club rotation, announcing "I"d rather be dry, but at least I'm alive" over a livewire beat. Then, for good measure, they dropped a rain-drenched dance-along video to practice to so the dance floor looked extra lively upon reopening. 

"Rain" by Madonna
Image: Warner Bros. Music

8. "Rain" by 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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"Umbrella" by Rihanna
Image: Def Jam

9. "Umbrella" by 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. 

"The Rain' (Supa Dupa Fly)" by Missy Elliott
Image: Elektra

10. "The Rain' (Supa Dupa Fly)" by 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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"It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls
Image: Columbia

11. "It's Raining Men" by 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. 

"Dry the Rain" by the Beta Band
Image: Regal

12. "Dry the Rain" by the Beta Band

You know you've written an all-timer of a rain song when it's used in a John Cusack movie featuring one of the actor's many emotional rain scenes. This laid-back slice of droll Scottish "folktronica" is the short-lived band's magnum opus, one whose somber tone slowly lifts to the heavens as Steve Mason hypnotically repeats "I will be your light" as the song drifts from dreary to bright. 

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"Kiss the Rain" by Billie Myers
Image: Universal

13. "Kiss the Rain" by 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. 

"I'm Only Happy When it Rains" by Garbage
Image: Almo

14. "I'm Only Happy When it Rains" by Garbage

With one carefully crafted refrain — "Pour your misery down on me" — Shirley Manson essentially became the mall-goth/emo kid version of Gene Kelly. 

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"Rain" by The Beatles
Image: Capitol Records

15. "Rain" by 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. 

"Why Does it Always Rain on Me?" by Travis
Image: Independiente

16. "Why Does it Always Rain on Me?" by 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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"Rainy Days and Mondays" by The Carpenters
Image: A&M

17. "Rainy Days and Mondays" by 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. 

"Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele
Image: Columbia

18. "Set Fire to the Rain" by 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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"Rain Falls (David’s Soakin’ Wet Mix)" by Frankie Knuckles
Image: Virgin

19. "Rain Falls (David’s Soakin’ Wet Mix)" by Frankie Knuckles

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? 

"Spring Rain" by Bebu Silvetti
Image: A& Hispavox

20. "Spring Rain" by 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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"A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall" by Bob Dylan
Image: Columbia

21. "A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall" by 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. 

"November Rain" by Guns N’ Roses
Image: A&M

22. "November Rain" by 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 20th 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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"Coming Clean" by Hilary Duff

23. "Coming Clean" by 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. 

"A Year Without Rain" by Selena Gomez and the Scene
Image: Hollywood Records

24. "A Year Without Rain" by 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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"Rain on Your Parade" by Duffy
Image: A&M

25. "Rain on Your Parade" by 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. 

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