Rain - The Beatles

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"Rain" - The Beatles (1966)

“Rain” was Lennon’s first song that explores the themes of reality and illusion. "Rain, I don’t mind" is the first mantra in the Beatles’ history.

It was on this record where they realized that certain instruments had a different depth and texture when their sound was slowed own. It was decided they would record both the rhythm tack and Lennon’s lead vocal at a very fast speed, and then slow them down when it came time to mix the various tracks into the finished record.

McCartney said the “swampy” beat of the song was the result of them to finally figure out which key they would want it to end up in- and then just do it faster and then slow it down to that key. If it ended up in G then they recorded it in A, about a tone difference.

This was one of the first Beatles records to feature loud, booming bass. In contrast to previous records McCartney’s bass line is extremely recognizable. In this song it is an essential part of the melodic fabric, playing off the guitar instead of the other way around. His bass turns into an independent part of their ensemble, and the Beatles’ command of textures grows geometrically. His playing on this track is so inventive it threatens to overwhelm the track.

Ringo’s playing offers more than mere time-keeping. It enriches and accentuates the song’s other instrumental adornments—namely, Lennon’s lead vocal. Ringo used a technique of “drum breaks” by starting a break by hitting the hi-hat first instead of going directly to a drum off the hi-hat. The original rhythm track was at a fast tempo and then the engineers slowed down the tape to get the exact sound (speed) they wanted which McCartney would refer to as a “big ominous noise.” As Lennon vocals dragged which could have slowed down the tempo to a standstill, Ringo’s rat-a-tat pulls the song out of the rut.

For all of its musical and technical innovation, it’s ironic to note how standard is the form and harmonic content of the track really is. 

The Beatles take themselves to possess a kind of knowledge or insight that can be, and indeed ought to be, shared with others. Thus the protagonist in “Rain” plaintively addresses the listener by singing, “I can show you,” and “Can you hear me?”

"Rain" represents the first articulation of a philosophy John and George were to expound repeatedly in their work that the outward manifestations of the material world are all nothing more than “a wall of illusion.”
 

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