Red Rain (song)

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"Red Rain"
Single by Peter Gabriel
from the album So
Released 1987
Format 7", 12", CD
Recorded 1986
Length 5:39
Label Geffen
Producer(s) Peter Gabriel, Chris Hughes, Daniel Lanois
Peter Gabriel singles chronology
"In Your Eyes"
"Red Rain"
"Biko Live/No More Apartheid"

"Red Rain" is the first track on Peter Gabriel's 1986 solo album So. In the USA, it was the second single from the album and reached Number 3 on Billboard magazine's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in the fall of 1986, receiving strong radio airplay and MTV rotation.[1] In the rest of the world it was not released until 1987 and received minor airplay and poor sales. Stewart Copeland from The Police played the hi-hat for the rain-like background sound; the rest of the drumming was handled by Jerry Marotta. A live version also charted in the US and the UK in 1994.


The song is a combination of several inspirations. The lyrics directly reference a recurring dream Gabriel was having where he swam in his backyard pool drinking cold red wine. Another version of the dream had bottles falling from a cliff, and the bottles were in the shape of people. When they were smashed on impact with the ground, the people-shaped bottles had red liquid coming out, and then it began to rain the same red liquid.

Earlier in his solo career, Gabriel had an idea for a movie, Mozo. In it, villagers were punished for their sins with a blood-red rain. "Red Rain" was to be the theme song. This idea was eventually scrapped, although there was a mention of Mozo in the song "On the Air" in Peter Gabriel (II). "Down The Dolce Vita", "Here Comes The Flood", and "Exposure" reference the Mozo story, as well.

Author Daryl Easlea wrote that the song was "a brooding opening to the album" which reflected "two very current Eighties obsessions: AIDS and nuclear fallout".[2]

"Red Rain" album appearances[edit]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Red Rain"
  2. "In Your Eyes" (special mix) [only on 12"]
  3. "Gaga"

Gaga is the instrumental track of tune I Go Swimming only published on the "Plays Live" record.

Track listing (US 12" Single (20749-0))[edit]

  1. "Red Rain" - 5:35
  2. "GA-GA (I go swimming instrumental)" - 4:31
  3. "Walk Through The Fire" - 3:31


Other versions[edit]


  1. ^ "Peter Gabriel". Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  2. ^ Easlea, Daryl (2013). Without Frontiers: The Life & Music of Peter Gabriel. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1780383156.