Creedence Clearwater Revival: “Have You Ever Seen the Rain”

Posted: May 4, 2016 in THE CLASH of Cover Tunes
Tags: , , , , ,
Tune du Jour: “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Joan Jett vs. Minutemen vs. The Ramones

GREAT SONG! Along with Fortunate Son probably Creedence Clearwater Revival’s two greatest numbers (although I’ve also always had a soft spot for Someday Never Comes and Long as I Can See the Light as well). Have You Ever Seen the Rain  was written by John Fogerty and released as a single in 1971. It had originally appeared on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s album Pendulum, released in 1970. The song charted highest in Canada, reaching number one on the RPM 100 national album chart in March 1971. In the US, it peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. And it reached number 36 on the UK’s Pop Singles Chart.

I'm Hooked On The Ceiling I'm High On Believing That You're In Love With Me

In My Hour of Need
I Truly Am Indeed
Alone Again, Broccoli …

Given the polarizing and contentious time in which Have You Ever Seen The Rain was written there has been much speculation as to the true meaning of the song. At the time the US was entangled in a seemingly endless unpopular war and the nation was struggling to make sense of the Kent State shootings. Not surprisingly, most music critics attributed the lyrics to the political and social turmoil of the day. Writing about the song, Have You Ever Seen The Rain, Mark Denning of AllMusic surmised:

“In 1970, a time when the giddy possibilities of political and social change of the late ’60s had been put in check by the sobering realities of Altamont and Kent State and both rock & roll and the youth culture at large were beginning to move away from idealism and into the self-centered decadence of the ’70s, Fogerty was one of the few songwriters grounded enough to suggest the issues had not gone away, but that we had lost the courage and the vision to face up to them.”

Yet, interestingly, Fogerty has stated on more than one occasion that the song had nothing to do with political and societal issues. He contends that it was his lament of the turmoil taking place within the band, Creedence Clearwater Revival. At the time, despite having achieved fame and fortune, the members of the band were in a state of constant conflict with each other. It was particularly upsetting that his brother, Tom, was so dissatisfied that Fogerty felt sure he would soon leave the band. Fogerty’s perception turned out to be accurate. Not only did Tom leave, but the whole band split up the following year.

The Original


Creedence Clearwater Revival:


THE CLASH of Cover Tunes


Joan Jett vs. Minutemen vs. The Ramones
Joan Jett:


The Ramones:


Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. It is your solemn responsibility to decide which cover song prevails. In other words … Which Side Are You On?!!? 


Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.


  1. bornunderabadsign says:

    I haven’t even listened yet and I am already thinking of voting for the Ramones…we’ll see, let me spin these offerings from CMI!

  2. bornunderabadsign says:

    OK, I listened to them all and Yep! Ramones Rule! Ramones Forever!

  3. RDubbs says:

    I have to say that Joan Jett knocked out a surprisingly good version. I very nearly gave her my vote but at the last minute went with the Minutemen.

  4. Pete Black says:

    I thought Joan Jett did a true, honest version. Hearing it first I thought she might get my vote, since I have heard these others versions a number of times but not in years. I thought if either of these were worthy I would remember that being the case. Minutemen were sincere and closest to the original but ultimately my least favorite of three enjoyable options. Joey Ramone is no singer in the way that word was used pre-Dylan but I love his inflections and delivery and the band delivers without overdoing it. The Ramones are also a great pop band. Better than I recalled.

  5. Kerry Black says:

    Thanks for the expository intro. And thanks for including the final paragraph, especially “…Fogerty has stated on more than one occasion that the song had nothing to do with political and societal issues.” I’ve heard others over the years say they consider this song as commentary on or protest of the Vietnam War. I’ve sometimes wondered whether people were confusing this song with “Who’ll Stop The Rain”.

    Here’s the lyrics for “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?”:

    Someone told me long ago There’s a calm before the storm,
    I know; It’s been comin’ for some time.
    When it’s over, so they say, It’ll rain a sunny day,
    I know; Shinin’ down like water.

    I want to know, Have you ever seen the rain?
    I want to know, Have you ever seen the rain
    Comin’ down on a sunny day?

    Yesterday, and days before, Sun is cold and rain is hard,
    I know; Been that way for all my time.
    ‘Til forever, on it goes Through the circle, fast and slow,
    I know; It can’t stop, I wonder.


    But even “Who’ll Stop The Rain” is not as clear as some may assume. While it may be tempting to conclude “rain” means “war” in this context, I’m still not convinced. Here’s the complete lyrics:

    Long as I remember the rain been comin’ down
    Clouds of mystery pourin’ confusion on the ground.
    Good men through the ages tryin’ to find the sun.
    And I wonder still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.

    I went down Virginia seekin’ shelter from the storm
    Caught up in the fable I watched the tower grow
    Five year plans and new deals wrapped in golden chains.
    And I wonder still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.

    Heard the singers playin’, how we cheered for more.
    The crowd had rushed together tryin’ to keep warm.
    Still the rain kept pourin’, fallin’ on my ears
    And I wonder, still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.

  6. Arnold Plotnick says:

    Great song, and three good covers, but c’mon. Gabba Gabba Hey.

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