I Wish It Would Rain Down, and other top songs about rain

According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Drought Monitor, much of the High Plains continues to be mired in drought. Western Oklahoma is the bull’s-eye for extreme drought, but Kansas, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado also have areas touched by the worst-case drought scenario.

I don’t need to tell those suffering from drought conditions how bad things are. Fields of wheat— normally turning color at this time of year—are crispy green-brown. Pastures have little growth and ponds are dry. Fall crops are waiting for a rain to grow.

Farm country has hoped and prayed for rain, done rain dances, cursed at the sky and put faith in the folklore promising rain (turtles crossing the road, cows bunched together on a fence line and flies biting you on the arm, among others). Whenever I get down and out, I find that music helps soothe the soul. So here is a brief playlist of a few of my favorite songs about rain, in no particular order:

Bring on the Rain, by Jo Dee Messina

Years ago I heard Jo Dee Messina sing in concert, backed by three guitars. During that acoustic set, her version of this song was amazing. The popular version from the 2000s featured harmony vocals by country singer Tim McGraw. In this performance, a young guy playing guitar harmonized beautifully. Great song. Bring it on.

No Rain, by Blind Melon

Alternative rock band Blind Melon had one big hit—and that was this song, in 1992. According to the website, “Song Meanings,” the true meaning of this tune is pretty depressing. But when you watch storm clouds gather to the west, and fizzle out before they get to your place—and weather forecasts give a high probability of rain only to wind up with nothing—well, that’s pretty depressing too.

I Wish It Would Rain Down, by Phil Collins

From guitarist Eric Clapton’s blues-rock opening, to the choir singing harmony toward the end of this 5-minute, 27-second epic, this is one of those songs on which I’ll sing, play steering wheel drumset and air guitar when I hear it on the radio. Collins was at the height of his popularity when his album “But Seriously” came out in 1989, and I Wish It Would Rain Down was one of five top 40 hits on this quadruple platinum work. And doggone it, we all wish it would just rain down.

Singin’ in the Rain, by Gene Kelly

This song obviously predates me by a long way, but I remember watching the video with my folks as a kid. Did you know that Arthur Freed and Herb Brown wrote the actual song in 1929? I did not. I thought it was specifically written for the movie with Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds. However, the movie wasn’t made until 1952 (although it was set in 1920s Hollywood). No matter—if it were to rain right now, a lot of us would mimic Gene Kelly’s iconic musical and dance number.

Who’ll Stop the Rain and Have you Ever Seen the Rain, by Creedence Clearwater Revival

A tip of the HPJ hat to the four-man band from El Cerrito, California, (I always thought they were from the south), with two songs on the playlist about rain. In the former, the lyrics mention the rain coming down “as long as they can remember” and the latter, “have you ever seen the rain comin’ down on a sunny day?” Sunny? Cloudy? Clear? We don’t care. We just want to see some rain.

This list only scratches the surface of popular rain-themed songs. I didn’t include fake pop sensation Milli Vanilli’s 1980s song, “Blame it on the Rain,” one of the landmark tracks of my freshman year in college. Elvis Presley’s “Kentucky Rain,” and Willie Nelson’s “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” would be on many lists. Prince’s “Purple Rain” is a great song, and the Purple One’s performance of it during Super Bowl XLI in 2007 was epic. Perhaps you would have, along with dozens of other rain titles (an easy pick is Gary Allan’s cleverly titled “Songs About Rain,” which has about two dozen rain songs in the lyrics).

Let us know your favorite rain-related songs on Facebook or Twitter; or take the poll here to tell us which of these you like the best. And remember, we’re one day closer to a rain.

Bill Spiegel can be reached at 785-587-7796 or [email protected].