Lightning Crashes

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"Lightning Crashes"
Single by Live
from the album Throwing Copper
Released 1995 (US)
1996 (UK)
Format Cassette, CD
Recorded 1993
Genre Alternative rock
Length 5:27
Label Radioactive
Writer(s) Live
Producer(s) Jerry Harrison, Live
Live singles chronology
"I Alone"
"Lightning Crashes"
"All Over You"
Music sample

"Lightning Crashes" is a song by the rock band Live, from their 1994 album, Throwing Copper.

Although the track was not released as a single in the US, it received enough radio airplay to peak at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart in 1995. The song also topped the Billboard Album Rock Tracks (10 weeks) and Hot Modern Rock Tracks (9 weeks) charts.[1][2] The song was also a top 40 hit in the UK,[3] where the single was released in several formats.


According to the sheet music published at, the song is written in the key of C major (recorded a half step lower in B major)[4]

Song meaning[edit]

Lead singer Ed Kowalczyk said, "I wrote 'Lightning Crashes' on an acoustic guitar in my brother's bedroom shortly before I had moved out of my parents' house and gotten my first place of my own." Kowalczyk says that the video for "Lightning Crashes" has caused misinterpretations of the song's intent.

While the clip is shot in a home environment, I envisioned it taking place in a hospital, where all these simultaneous deaths and births are going on, one family mourning the loss of a woman while a screaming baby emerges from a young mother in another room. Nobody's dying in the act of childbirth, as some viewers think. What you're seeing is actually a happy ending based on a kind of transference of life.[5]

New York magazine described the band as "deeply mystical" and claimed that the song was, "The story of a...connection between an old lady dying and a new mother at the moment of giving birth."[6]

Track listings[edit]

All songs written by Live:

European single[edit]

  1. "Lightning Crashes" [Edit] – 4:29
  2. "Lightning Crashes" (Glastonbury '95) [Live] – 5:15
  3. "The Beauty of Gray" (Bootleg Version) [Live] – 4:45

German single[edit]

  1. "Lightning Crashes" [Edit] – 4:25
  2. "Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition)" – 3:18
  3. "Good Pain" – 5:39
  4. "Heaven Wore a Shirt" – 3:38
  5. "Negation" – 3:38

U.K. CD single 1 (RAXTD 23)[edit]

  1. "Lightning Crashes" – 5:26
  2. "The Beauty of Gray" (Bootleg Version) [Live] – 4:45
  3. "T.B.D." (Acoustic Version) – 3:49

U.K. CD single 2 (RAXXD 23)[edit]

  1. "Lightning Crashes" – 5:26
  2. "Lightning Crashes" (Glastonbury '95) [Live] – 5:16
  3. "White, Discussion" (Glastonbury '95) [Live] – 5:22

U.K. cassette single[edit]

  1. "Lightning Crashes" – 5:26
  2. "Lightning Crashes" (Glastonbury '95) [Live] – 5:16


Preceded by
"When I Come Around" by Green Day
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
February 25 - April 22, 1995
Succeeded by
"Good" by Better Than Ezra
Preceded by
"Better Man" by Pearl Jam
Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks number-one single
March 25 – May 27, 1995
Succeeded by
"December" by Collective Soul


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications, 2004), page 374
  2. ^ a b c "Throwing Copper > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles" Allmusic
  3. ^ a b "Official Charts > Live". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 2016-08-13. 
  4. ^ Live "Lightning Crashes" Sheet Music
  5. ^ Scarisbrick,John. "Lightning Strikes." Spin Magazine, June 1995, p. 52.
  6. ^ Michael Hirschorn (September 1995), [music], New York Magazine, p. 35 
  7. ^ " > Live – Lightning Crashes (song)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2016-08-13. 
  8. ^ "RPM Top Singles - Volume 61, No. 17, May 29 1995" RPM via Library and Archives Canada
  9. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles 1995". (original document published by ARIA). Retrieved 2016-08-13. 

External links[edit]