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