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‘R’ Is For: Rain

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Are The Beatles making fun of you, soggy Seattle? (Peter Skingle/Getty Images)

Are The Beatles making fun of you, soggy Seattle? (Peter Skingle/Getty Images)

Photo by Doug Cooper Scott Vanderpool
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Rain is…well, hell it’s happening right now!  This is Seattle, what did you expect?  But it’s also one of The Beatles most psychedelic songs, originally issued as the “B” side to the Paperback Writer single…it’s been called the finest “B” side ever released.

And John Lennon is making fun of you. He told an interviewer, “Rain is about people moaning about the weather all the time.” He’s from Liverpool, in the North of England, where it rains all the time. The weather is actually very much like Seattle, but he wrote it after the Beatles first tour of Australia. When they arrived in Melbourne, “I’ve never seen it rain that hard, except in Tahiti”, he said.

The song features some innovative recording techniques that make it all the more psychedelic, especially the backward vocal track at the end, which is not any satanic “backmasking”, but just the song’s lyrics, backwards. John said ” I got home from the studio and I was stoned out of my mind on marijuana and, as I usually do, I listened to what I’d recorded that day. Somehow I got it on backwards and I sat there, transfixed, with the earphones on, with a big hash joint. I ran in the next day and said, ‘I know what to do with it, I know… Listen to this!’ So I made them all play it backwards. The fade is me actually singing backwards with the gutars going backwards. [Singing backwards] Sharethsmnowthsmeaness… [Laughter] That one was the gift of God, of Jah, actually, the god of marijuana, right? So Ja gave me that one.”

The Beatles created three promotional films for the song, all produced by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, one in color for the American Ed Sullivan show (lots of Americans had color TV’s by then), and two in black and white (Brits did not have color TV’s yet).  This led George Harrison to say, “I suppose, in a way, we invented MTV.”

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102.5 KZOK’s Classic Rock A to Z is presented by:
applebeeslogo R Is For: Rain

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