Have You Ever Seen The Rain - Creedence Clearwater Revival
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Creedence Clearwater Revival
Have You Ever Seen The Rain (1970)
Written by CCR’s songwriter and front man John Fogerty, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” is a sad, gut gripping song that makes you feel both happy and sad at the same time.
The song is about Fogerty’s brother and his return from Vietnam. He was spit on at the airport by anti-war protesters - John asked him about if he was upset...his brother just told him “no, these people have never seen the rain.” Meaning that they weren’t there and they couldn’t possibly understand what he and his buddies went through. They shouldn’t judge him unless they had seen what he had.
It’s also been suggested that the lyrics of the 1970 release are referencing the Vietnam War, with the “rain” being a metaphor for Napalm bombs falling from the sky.
After Woodstock came the disastrous concert by the Rolling Stones at Altamont- and then six months later the murder of four students at Kent State University. The singer is saying that the same issues of the ‘60s still existed in the 1970s but that people were no longer interested in fighting for them. This viewpoint- that the 70s was now the “me generation” and no longer ideological- would become the historical interpretation on what transpired in the world at that point in time in the late 20th century.
The song has the ability to bring the listener to near tears. Musically, the track has rhythm, harmony and melody in a perfect balance. The sound was inspired by Booker T. & the MG’s, signature song “Green Onions“ who had opened for CCR. John Fogerty loved the sound of Booker T. Jones’ Hammond organ.
The actual line is “Have you ever seen the rain, sunny day.” “Sunny Day” was Fogerty’s nickname for the band in the “golden years” When it rains on a sunny day you get a rainbow. ‘Rain’ on a sunny day relates to sadness, or depression.
Fogerty has said publicly prior to playing the track in concert that the song is about rising tension within CCR and the imminent departure of his brother Tom in early 1971. The line, “I want to know - have you ever seen the rain comin’ down on a sunny day?” refers to Tom leaving the band while they were at their commercial zenith.
When they should have been enjoying their success- there was intense tension in the band as the public’s image and perception of the group did not reflect that John was the writer and main talent in CCR. Everyone knew this was the case but it was hard to alter the view that the group’s musical output was not an equal, collective effort.
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