"Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" is a song written by John Fogerty and released as a single in 1971 from the album Pendulum (1970) by roots rock group Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song charted highest in Canada, reaching number 1 on the RPM 100 national singles chart in March 1971. In the U.S., in the same year, it peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart (where it was listed as "Have You Ever Seen the Rain / Hey Tonight", together with the B-side). On the Cash Box pop chart, it peaked at number 3. In the UK, it reached number 36. It was the group's eighth gold-selling single.
Some have speculated that the song's lyrics are referencing the Vietnam War, with the "rain" being a metaphor for bombs falling from the sky. In his review for Allmusic website, Mark Deming suggests that the song is about the idealism of the 1960s and about how it faded in the wake of events such as the Altamont Free Concert and the Kent State shootings and that Fogerty is saying that the same issues of the 1960s still existed in the 1970s but that people were no longer fighting for them. However, Fogerty himself has said in interviews and prior to playing the song in concert that it is about rising tension within CCR and the imminent departure of his brother Tom from the band.
In an interview, Fogerty stated that the song was written about the fact that they were on the top of the charts, and had surpassed all of their wildest expectations of fame and fortune. They were rich and famous, but somehow all of the members of the band at the time were depressed and unhappy; thus the line "Have you ever seen the rain, coming down on a sunny day?". The band split up in October the following year after the release of the album Mardi Gras.
In a literal sense, the song describes a sunshower, such in the lyric "It'll rain a sunny day" and the chorus "Have you ever seen the rain Comin' down on a sunny day?". These events are particularly common in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, but less common in other parts of the country, due to localized atmospheric wind shear effects. In Southern regional dialect, there is even a term for it: "the devil beating his wife".
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.
Songwriters: John Cameron Fogerty
Have You Ever Seen the Rain lyrics © S.I.A.E. Direzione Generale, Jondora Music