- Published in 1966
- Author: Lennon/McCartney
- Track 4 on “Past Masters Volume 2“
JOHN 1966: “After we’d done the session on that particular song– it ended at about four or five in the morning– I went home with a tape to see what else you could do with it. And I was sort of very tired, you know, not knowing what I was doing, and I just happened to put it on my own tape recorder and it came out backwards. And I liked it better. So that’s how it happened.”
JOHN 1980: “That’s me again– with the first backwards tape on record anywhere… I got home from the studio and I was stoned out of my mind on marijuana… and, as I usually do, I listened to what I’d recorded that day. Somehow it got on backwards and I sat there, transfixed, with the earphones on, with a big hash joint. I ran in the next day and said, ‘I know what to do with it, I know… listen to this!’ So I made them all play it backwards. The fade is me actually singing backwards with the guitars going backwards. (sings) ‘Sharethsmnowthsmeanss!’ That one was the gift of God… of Ja actually– the god of marijuana, right? So Ja gave me that one.”
RINGO 1984: “My favorite piece of me is what I did on ‘Rain.’ I think I just played amazing. I was into the snare and hi-hat. I think it was the first time I used the trick of starting a break by hitting the hi-hat first instead of going directly to a drum off the hi-hat. I think it’s the best out of all the records I’ve ever made. ‘Rain’ blows me away. It’s out in left field. I know me and I know my playing… and then there’s ‘Rain.’”
PAUL circa-1994: “It was nice. I really enjoyed that one.”
“Rain” is a song that holds a special place in the Beatles’ discography. Penned primarily by John Lennon, although credited to the enduring Lennon/McCartney partnership, the track was released as the B-side to their single “Paperback Writer” in 1966. This song is often revered for its innovative musical techniques and thought-provoking lyrics.
From a musical standpoint, “Rain” stands out for its distinctive sound. The track is characterized by a captivating blend of psychedelic rock elements. It features a remarkable use of backwards vocals, a technique that was quite avant-garde at the time. This effect, particularly notable in the final verse, adds an ethereal quality to the song, creating an otherworldly atmosphere.
Ringo Starr’s drumming in “Rain” is another standout feature. His rhythmic pattern is intricate and inventive, showcasing the band’s willingness to experiment with different musical styles and structures. This, combined with the song’s mesmerizing guitar work and Paul McCartney’s melodic bassline, contributes to the overall complexity and richness of the composition.
The song’s recording contains a slowed-down rhythm track, a droning bass line and backwards vocals. Its release marked the first time that reversed sounds appeared in a pop song, although the Beatles used the same technique on the Revolver track “Tomorrow Never Knows“, recorded days earlier. Ringo Starr considers “Rain” his best recorded drum performance. Three promotional films were created for the song, and they are considered among the early precursors of music videos.
Despite its unconventional approach and experimental sound, “Rain” was met with critical acclaim. It’s often cited as one of the Beatles’ finest B-sides and a testament to their musical innovation during the mid-1960s. The song’s influence extended far beyond its initial release, with its groundbreaking use of recording techniques inspiring generations of artists in the psychedelic and progressive rock genres.
Interestingly, “Rain” was not performed live by the Beatles during their touring years. Instead, the band created promotional videos for both “Rain” and “Paperback Writer,” which were early precursors to the modern music video.
In retrospect, “Rain” remains a beloved and iconic track among Beatles enthusiasts. It stands as a testament to the band’s willingness to push the boundaries of conventional music production, showcasing their artistic evolution during a pivotal period in their illustrious career.
Meaning of “Rain”
The meaning of “Rain” is open to interpretation, as with many pieces of art. However, it’s commonly understood to convey themes of introspection, change, and acceptance.
The lyrics of “Rain” suggest a contemplative attitude towards life’s uncertainties and transitions. Lines like “Rain, I don’t mind / Shine, the weather’s fine” can be interpreted as an acceptance of change, possibly even a welcoming of challenges or difficult times. The metaphor of rain could symbolize the ups and downs of life, and the idea that even amidst adversity, there can be growth and transformation.
Additionally, the song’s refrain, “Rain, I don’t mind / Shine, the weather’s fine,” might imply a sense of resilience or an ability to find positivity even in challenging circumstances. It could be seen as a message of finding contentment or peace regardless of the external conditions.
Overall, “Rain” can be seen as a reflection on the human experience, acknowledging that life is full of unpredictable moments, and the key might be in how one responds to them.
- John Lennon: vocals, guitar
- Paul McCartney: backing vocals, bass
- George Harrison: backing vocals, guitar
- Ringo Starr: drums, tambourine