Beatles – Rain

This song would make my personal top ten of Beatle songs… Rain was the B side to Paperback Writer. Personally, I like this song better. First off the sound was different compared to previous songs…the bass comes through like never before and Ringo’s drumming complimented the bass so well.

They experimented with a new way of recording bass.  This technique involved “using a loudspeaker as a microphone,” explains engineer Geoff Emerick.  “We positioned it directly in front of the bass speaker and the moving diaphragm of the second speaker made the electric current.”

The peaked at #23 in the Billboard 100 in 1966.

Ringo on this recording is outstanding and some think it’s his best moment on record. Personally, I like his playing on A Day In The Life but this one is great.

At the end of the song, the vocals are backward. There are different stories on how this happened. One was that a stoned John took the tape home and put it in backward and was astonished at what he heard and wanted the whole song backward. George Martin remembered it differently: “I was always playing around with tapes,” Martin explains, “and I thought it might be fun to do something extra with John’s voice.  So I lifted a bit of his main vocal off the four-track, put it onto another spool, turned it around and then slid it back and forth until it fitted.  John was out at the time but when he came back he was amazed…They all thought it was marvelous.”

Whichever way it was…it fits this song perfectly

Paul McCartney said this about who wrote the song:

I don’t think he brought the original idea, just when we sat down to write, he kicked it off. Songs have traditionally treated rain as a bad thing and what we got on to was that it’s no bad thing. There’s no greater feeling than the rain dripping down your back. The most interesting thing about it wasn’t the writing, which was tilted 70-30 to John, but the recording of it.

From Songfacts

John Lennon wrote most of “Rain.” It was his first song to get really deep, exploring themes of reality and illusion – after all, rain or shine is just a state of mind.

This was the first song to use a tape played backward, which created the strange audio effect. John Lennon discovered the technique when he put the tape for “Tomorrow Never Knows” on the wrong way. He was stoned at the time, and producer George Martin had to convince him that using a backward recording for the entire song was a bad idea. 

Ringo Starr has said this is his best drumming on a Beatles song.

The backward vocal at the end fade out is actually the songs first line: “When the rain comes they run and hide their heads”.

This was one of the first Beatles records to feature loud, booming bass. McCartney’s bassline is extremely recognizable, in contrast to The Beatles’ older records. 

This was released as the B-side of “Paperback Writer.” It was recorded during the Revolver sessions.

As part of the studio manipulation that gave this song such an unusual sound, the rhythm track was played fast and then slowed down on tape.

The Beatles shot a video for this song with director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who was tapped because he worked on the UK music show Ready, Steady,Go!. The videos for “Rain” and “Paperback Writer” were shot at the same time, with some footage recorded at Abbey Road studios, but most of it outdoors at the Chiswick House gardens in London.

These videos were done so The Beatles could promote the single without actually performing on the various TV shows that drew huge audiences and drove sales. In doing so, they set a standard for music videos, as other bands followed suit. The “Rain” video uses many elements that would become commonplace, including candid shots from between takes.

Rain

If the rain comes 
They run and hide their heads
They might as well be dead
If the rain comes
If the rain comes

When the sun shines 
They slip into the shade
And sip their lemonade
When the sun shines
When the sun shines

Rain, I don’t mind
Shine, the weather’s fine

I can show you 
That when it starts to rain
Everything’s the same
I can show you
I can show you

Rain, I don’t mind
Shine, the weather’s fine

Can you hear me
That when it rains and shines
It’s just a state of mind
Can you hear me
Can you hear me

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

47 thoughts on “Beatles – Rain”

  1. Great B-side….though I think I might be the only person in the world who find the drums and bass distracting in this arrangement. It’s a brilliant vocal…I would prefer everything to support that….I think I’m in the minority on this point….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I think you would be in the minority…thats ok though… I usually am…
      To me the drums more than the bass make the song alive…Ringo usually plays for the song…on this one like Moon and Bonham he drives the train…but he has no choice because of the bass… The sound though is great…McCartneys bass is out in front and clear unlike recordings before this…Ringo’s cymbals sound like steam engines…I like that.

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      1. I found it interesting on how they boosted the bass up by recording it with a loudspeaker. Those were the days…trying anything that worked…and now that is why we have what we have now.

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      2. It would not be in there…this would be in the George Maritn one at this period…From what I remembered Geoff Emerick was their engineer and he said a speaker and a mic was basically the same and reversed it?

        I’ll bore you a little….here is the quote you may find interesting.
        “It occurred to me that since microphones are in fact simply loudspeakers wired in reverse…why not try using a loudspeaker as a microphone? Logically, it seemed that whatever can push bass signal out can also take it in – and that a large loudspeaker should be able to respond to low frequencies better than a small microphone. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.”

        Awesome sight on every Beatle song
        http://www.beatlesebooks.com/

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  2. This was a turning point for me- of course I would have had to eventually moved on- but I had the Red and Blue albums- and was reading up on them- and the Rain b-side sounded like something I had to hear- I bought the Paperback Writer/ Rain 45 and realized- the only way you can do it is to have everything- One of my favorites! …. you may be interested- I don’t know if you saw it but this morning I saw a post about a class that is offered on line for free- from Corsera- website- they offer all kinds of classes– you can register and do it for free- or pay to get credit if one wants- its called The Music of The Beatles- I just finished the week 1 introduction… you can go at your own pace….. off topic- Clayton mastered the Pirates last night- looked great. Pirates now lost 7 in a row…back to reality I am afraid.

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      1. Yes it is simple. I’ve tried it with some guys before…the drummer has to be on top of it or it can fall apart quickly.

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    1. I won’t be able to check posts until tonight… but that is a big yes! I will take that class… Bailey will be also… thank you for the info… Rain was such a game changer in sound… plus it’s a great song…

      I couldn’t believe it about Kershaw…. he was pitching 86 mph on many pitches also.

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      1. I think the key is going to be Kershaw’s health- as long as he is healthy he will find a way to win even if his fastball has lost some of its past glory… i hope the course gives us somethings we don’t know…

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      2. It’s about location and his slider…he is a true pitcher now that is for sure.

        Yes that is the reason I want to dive into the class.

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      1. What’s the deal with Puig? You mentioned him in reference to Vladimir Jr. and I do remember there being a lot of hype over Puig’s arrival but he never really seemed to put it together. Injuries I guess but I also used to hear a number of stories about his bad attitude. Is he simply just not giving a rat’s pattooey or is he just physically hampered, in your opinion?

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      2. No I think it’s between his ears. If he presses…he doesn’t do well. I think he will be ok because he is playing for a contract. He was great in his first two years…he has been very good the past 2 or 3…he has the tools to be great but he never can put them together.

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  3. This was a ‘rediscovered’ Beatle song for me a few years ago. I’d long forgotten about it. I hadn’t ever paid specific attention to the drums, but on listening now, Ringo’s touch is lovely. It sort of sneaks up on you.

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  4. A truly outstanding track. Everything about it: words, music, arrangement and production. It absolutely leaps out of the speakers. A great one for giving the volume knob a little extra turn. Thanks for the original part of your post. With good research and fine writing like that, you don’t really need the Songfacts stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you I appreciate it. Sometimes their is so little known on some songs that I use the songfacts to flesh it out. I don’t want to reword what they say so I just try to be honest and let people decide if they want to read it…
      The Beatles stuff I know more than others…I’ve spent my life since I was 16 reading about them…and listening of course.
      They are one group that their story is just as interesting as their music.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Good song, don’t know that I like it AS much as you, Badfinger, but undeniably catchy and would have been a decent A-side. Musically at least, they could do no wrong in that 65-68 era.

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    1. I guess the reason I like it so much is because their is so much going on. Paul is everywhere on the bass and Ringo is playing very unlike Ringo and it all fits into this nice melody and singing by Lennon.

      The 65-66 era…right before psychedelic period came in was full of these power pop songs. Probably overall my favorite years…but saying that. It depends on my mood at the time.

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  6. They all look happy in this video and that is a big plus for me. I think the song has a Middle Easter flair to it. Ringo’s tat tat tat on the drums does a lot to give it oomph. I

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      1. Are you talking soundwise or songwise? It is my favorite off that album. They raised the stakes with that sound.

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      2. The sound gets better every Beatles LP. (even let it be) I think song-wise its lacking has some fantastic songs but nothing that really blows my mind other than She Said and Taxman etc.

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      3. It seems before 1966 bass players were seen but not heard. Comparing from pre-Revolver to post-Revolver…it is a huge leap.

        I like And Your Bird Can Sing… Not a world beater as far as lyrics but that guitar riff is a thing of beauty.

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      4. I’ve had trouble with learning that riff. Think I’ll try it out with a metronome and get it done tomorrow perhaps but you’re totally right.
        The bass paperback writer onwards is pretty mind blowing. In-fact when I was studying production I got taught/shown how to record using a loudspeaker and it was honestly a thing of beauty.

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      5. It’s a funny story with that riff. Joe Walsh said in an interview it took him 2 weeks to learn that riff…then Ringo told him afterward that George and Paul double tracked it together to get that sound.

        I’ve only done some Cubase recording and some old 8 track recording.

        So you used a loudspeaker as a mic? Is it a hard thing to do…you have reverse wire it right? I would love to try that.

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      6. As if – I can imagine. As it is such a pain to play. Its actually really simple when I hear/look at the tabs but I always think some of the simplest riffs lead you into a false sense of security.

        I’ve never produced 8-track recordings which is a shame as producing my own music now it doesn’t have that natural sound that I would like, the saturation etc. Still trying to figure out how to achieve them tones on logic.

        I’ll be honest my tutor already had it set out but I do believe you reverse wire it (or crocodile clip it) and use it as if you would any other microphone. The great part of studying was being able to experiment within studios with high end equipment. Sadly though, my tutors all bitched about The Beatles and their production and we weren’t being taught revolutionary changes in production and to me.. I think their production alongside the beach boys is some of the most important until the 70s!

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      7. I’ve never attempted it. I play more rhythm…bass is my real instrument but I would like to try it.

        8-track reel to reel was my first recording experience in a basement. My friend and I did cassette recordings on those old cheap recorders so we were ready when we got tried the real deal.

        I think recording has got too sterile. Sometimes to go forward you gotta go back. The warm sound is gone…I was careful not to have bleed over…then I didnt care because it made it sound full.

        I’ve always wanted to try something. Record on a Reel to Reel…take it track by track to digital in Cubase or Protools…would it keep the warm sound?

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      8. If you’re recording reel to reel and importing it in I’d say it would keep most of it sound. As you are bypassing the digital equipment and putting it straight into the software. At least I’d believe it would – most producers now (yeah everyone can be a good producer) they have no idea, they think the sound hasn’t changed and in-fact has improved but its not improved in the sense of a better feel, or tone. Everyone thinks you can save it in the mix no matter what you record it on but if was to record an album and I will at some point – it will be recorded classic ways and new ways and blended the both together or using which sounds better at that time. 8-track reels would be a great way to get tight as a musician as you’ve gotta do it right rather than cycle mode.
        But again I wouldn’t say they’d be much issue in sound quality if you can get it there into your digital software successfully. It would probably depend on your computers CPU and storage to retain the proper sound and obviously if its not an MP3 file.

        I’m looking at And your bird can sing now and trying to mimic what they did for my own riff.
        I’ve been looking at all these notes confused how on earth they got it to work with the notes they did. one starts on E the other on F# and I just cannot figure out how on earth that works.
        I think its perfect thirds or fourths.. I have no idea but somehow harmonises with it but I’ve never actually even thought about that in my entire guitarist life ha!

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      9. You would have to line up the tracks also to match…which wouldn’t take much. I thought it would give you the best of both worlds…you could use the digital to do some things but have the feel.
        You are right…sound is not getting better…its getting too slick…too clear.

        Now I’m going to look up the tab. It does harmonize…I wonder if a special tuning would help?

        By the way it’s good to meet you.

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      10. Well it would be the best of both worlds, definitely. Thats probably the best way to go about it! Yeah, too digital also. I get it though, its easier but sometimes easier doesn’t achieve anything unique.

        Yeah well they are both in the E major scale – both E standard tuning just hitting different notes which I’ve never thought to do. Especially, on the same string. I’ve worked a few things out though, it kind of makes sense.
        I would have never thought to do that for anything but I actually tried it on-top of my own riff and suddenly my track has a new lease of life and I think I’m more excited to try record it now as it was missing something!

        You too!

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