Who'll Stop the Rain (song)

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"Who'll Stop the Rain"
Single by Creedence Clearwater Revival
from the album Cosmo's Factory
A-side "Travelin' Band"
Released January 1970
Format 7" 45 RPM
Genre Folk rock
Length 2:29
Label Fantasy
Writer(s) John Fogerty
Producer(s) John Fogerty
Creedence Clearwater Revival singles chronology
"Down on the Corner"
"Who'll Stop the Rain"
"Up Around the Bend"

"Who'll Stop the Rain" is a song written by John Fogerty and originally recorded by Creedence Clearwater Revival for their 1970 album Cosmo's Factory. Backed with "Travelin' Band", it was one of three double sided singles from that album to reach the top five on the Billboard Pop Singles chart and the first of two to reach the #2 spot on the American charts, alongside "Lookin' Out My Back Door". In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked it #188 on its "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.


Lyrically, "Who'll Stop the Rain" breaks into three verses, with a historical, recent past, and present tense approach. All three verses allude to a sense of unending malaise, pondered by "good men through the ages", "Five Year Plans and New Deals/wrapped in golden chains", and the Woodstock generation. The malaise is not defined, but appears to allude to a sense that man's problems have to be dealt with by those who wish to fix them, and that no ancient philosophers, money-promising government, or Flower Power generation can merely push them off by thought, money, or communal love. The song's universal topical appeal made it unusual in the time of its release and gives it a quality that helps it maintain its popularity 40 years later.

Musically, in contrast to the 1950s-Rock inspired "Travelin' Band", "Who'll Stop the Rain" has more of an acoustic, folk-rock feel to it. Like many folk-rock songs, it starts off with a ringing acoustic guitar riff, though the backing throughout has more of a roots rock sound than that heard on more standard folk-rock recordings.[1] Interpreting the song in its time period (1970), and the resigned but somewhat angry feeling of the song, many see "Who'll Stop the Rain" as a thinly veiled protest against the Vietnam War, with the final verse lyrics and its references to music, large crowds, rain, and crowds trying to keep warm, being about the band's experience at the Woodstock Festival in August 1969. There is also a line during the song's second verse about "five-year plans and new deals wrapped in golden chains" that may indicate a general cynicism altogether about politicians. For his part, when asked by Rolling Stone about the meaning of the song's lyrics, John Fogerty was quoted as saying,

In 2007 during a concert in Shelburn, Vermont, he said the following about the song:

The half-minute long fadeout of the song, which reprises the repeating guitar pattern from the intro, seems to reinforce the song's main theme of the 'rain' continuing to go on, interminably.

Other versions[edit]

The song was a concert staple for Bruce Springsteen during his summer stadium tour of 2003. Springsteen and the E Street Band opened with "Who'll Stop the Rain" whenever it was raining.[2]

When Creedence Clearwater Revival was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, Springsteen performed the song with John Fogerty. The song has also been covered by Rudy Rotta, Rod Stewart, Rise Against, Courtney Jaye, The Ventures, Vince Neil and was included on John Fogerty's 1998 live CD/DVD, Premonition. The Stereophonics have also covered the song as a B-side to their single Local Boy in the Photograph.

Microdisney performed the song live, frequently in 1984 and on at least one occasion in 1985. Their version of the song was rearranged in their style, at a faster tempo with additional instrumental parts. Usually the song had guitarist Sean O'Hagan performing vocals on it, but regular singer Cathal Coughlan sang on the 1985 version.

Engelbert Humperdinck included "Who'll Stop the Rain" on his 2009 album A Taste of Country.

On Fogerty's 2013 album Wrote a Song for Everyone, he re-recorded the song as a duet with Bob Seger.

Garth Brooks for the 2013 "The Melting Pot" album in the "Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences" compilation.

Dwight Yoakam released a version of the song as a single in 2014, after his character, Lyle Chumley, sang a fragment of the song in the Force Majeure episode of Under the Dome (TV series).[3][4][5]

Bill Haley and the Comets recorded a version of this song on their album, "Rock Around the Country".

Appearances in other media[edit]

The song will be available as a playable song for the Rock Band series of music video games as downloadable content on July 6, as part of Creedence Clearwater Revival Pack 01.


In 1978, the song was used in the film Who'll Stop the Rain. The movie starred Nick Nolte as a Vietnam veteran. It was originally going to be called Dog Soldiers after the source novel, but when the producers got the rights to use the song, they changed the title to it.[2] The song also appeared in the 1989 film Powwow Highway. Both the original song and a softer, slower cover version sung by Courtney Jaye are included in the soundtrack of December Boys. A clip of the song appears in the film The War. The song was also included in the movie "Philadelphia." In 1990 it was also used in a third-season episode of "Tour Of Duty", a TV action-drama series that followed the fortunes of a U.S. Army platoon during the Vietnam War.


Creedence Clearwater Revival songs appeared in many films and commercials, in part because John Fogerty "long ago signed away legal control of his old recordings to Creedence's record label, Fantasy Records."[6] Fogerty objected to what he regarded as a misuse of his music in an NPR interview:

Folks will remember Forrest Gump and that was a great movie, but they don't remember all the really poor movies, that Fantasy Records stuck Creedence music into: car commercials, tire commercials. I'm remembering a paint thinner ad at one point,(actually, it was Thompson's Water Seal) the song "Who'll Stop the Rain". Oh, boy. That's clever, isn't it?[7]


External links[edit]