Dark stormy skies, howling wind, pelting rain, flashes of lightning, and the warning roar of thunder inspire some of our most creative instincts.
Is it any wonder that hundreds of hit numbers have been inspired by the violent passions of storms?
Storm iconography has been used to describe our darkest days and our wildest desires.
We express our great loves as “whirlwinds”, and our greatest challenges as “weathering storms”.
Whether we’re singing in the rain, questioning why it always rains on us or bathing in the purple rain; humans have a deep and innate relationship with the terrible power of storms.
So, strap yourself in, hold on tight and discover the best songs about storms.
- 1. Umbrella – Rihanna
- 2. Have You Ever Seen the Rain – Creedence Clearwater Revival
- 3. Kiss The Rain – Billie Myers
- 4. After the Storm – Mumford and Sons
- 5. I’m Only Happy When It Rains – Garbage
- 6. Thunderstruck – AC/DC
- 7. Here Comes the Rain Again – Eurythmics
- 8. She’s Thunderstorms – Arctic Monkeys
- 9. Rock You Like A Hurricane – Scorpions
- 10. Riders On The Storm – The Doors
- 11. Rain – The Script
- 12. Shelter From The Storm – Bob Dylan
- 13. Here Comes The Flood – Peter Gabriel
- 14. Storm Warning – Bonnie Raitt
- 15. November Rain – Guns and Roses
- 16. Storm Coming – Gnarls Barkley
- 17. Set Fire To The Rain – Adele
- 18. Stormy Weather – The Pixies
- 19. Lightning Crashes – Live
- 20. Storms – Fleetwood Mac
- 21. Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
- 22. Thunder – Imagine Dragons
- 23. I of The Storm – Of Monsters and Men
- 24. The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin
- 25. Electrical Storm – U2
- 26. Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones
- 27. Ridin’ The Storm Out – REO Speedwagon
1. Umbrella – Rihanna
This stormy hit song from Rihanna’s 2007 album, Good Girl Gone Bad, is a fierce number that sounds deceptively upbeat.
The electric chart-topping rhythmic power of this tune crafts a great hip-hop/pop single with all the necessary bone-shaking danceability, but under it all is a heartfelt declaration of love.
Opening with tremendous sixteenths, this stormy song really gets the body moving, even if that belies the serious nature of the lyrics. This is someone who will stand by the person they love, whatever the weather.
2. Have You Ever Seen the Rain – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Easily one of Creedence’s most recognizable hits. This stormy and soulful 1971 song will be familiar to anyone who has listened to a classic rock radio station in the past 50 years.
This emotional song was written by John Fogerty and released as a single from the album Pendulum. The mellow sound of the acoustic guitar blends beautifully with the country-inspired bassline to create the perfect storm.
According to guitarist John Fogerty, the song was inspired by his brother Tom storming out of the band. The mournful lyrics speak of the bewilderment of loss. I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?
3. Kiss The Rain – Billie Myers
Billie Myers’ stormy 1997 hit single from her album Growing Pains, was her most successful chart-topping song coming in at number four on the UK hit singles chart.
This acoustic track features stripped-down instrumentation, and raw, moody vocals set the tone for this plaintive song.
4. After the Storm – Mumford and Sons
2009’s breakout album Sigh No More from drizzly London-based folk-rock outfit Mumford and Sons really put the band on the map
Known for their use of traditional folk instruments like resonator guitars and mandolins, this phenomenal hit, After the Storm is no different.
5. I’m Only Happy When It Rains – Garbage
This was the atmospheric song that made Garbage a mainstay of the overcast UK alternative scene. From their 1995 self-titled debut album, I’m Only Happy When It Rains stormed the UK charts and turbocharged the band’s extraordinary career.
The unmistakable powerful vocals of Scottish singer Shirley Ann Manson make this a distinctly Garbage song.
The song was written as a reaction to the angsty, savage nature of the 90s grunge scene and was a bit of a self-deprecating poke at the scene they were a part of.
6. Thunderstruck – AC/DC
Everyone knows this absolute banger from AC/DC’s 1990 album Razor’s Edge. Thunderstruck is an anthemic, thunderous stormy rock number featuring the stylings of Angus Young.
Built around a guitar riff from Angus Young and complemented by Malcolm Young’s signature rhythm, Thunderstruck would go on to become easily the band’s most recognizable song.
A real stadium-filling roar of THUNDER!
7. Here Comes the Rain Again – Eurythmics
Annie Lennox’s smoky vocals open this magical 1983 single from their studio album Touch. The song was written by Lennox and Dave Stewart, who were said to have been trying to capture a melancholic mood with this, at times mournful track.
Built on an A minor progression that weaves in and out throughout the powerful melody, the listener feels that sense of melancholy.
So, if you are ready for blankets and duvets on that stormy day, this might be for you.
8. She’s Thunderstorms – Arctic Monkeys
This song about storms was literally inspired by a storm. She’s Thunderstorms was written during a downpour in New York City, according to thoroughly soaked Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner.
The song starts with a muted guitar line, building to the chorus. The song’s heroine is a slow build, so intense she is not just a thunderstorm, but multiple storms.
9. Rock You Like A Hurricane – Scorpions
Considered the band’s ferocious signature track “Rock You Like a Hurricane” is an instantly recognizable song. With its boisterous guitar riff over absolutely thunderous drums, this storm-chaser of a song brings you the best of everything that is electric hair-metal.
Get out your best spandex and get ready to rock with this primal number from The Scorpions.
10. Riders On The Storm – The Doors
Released in 1971, Riders on the Storm was a hit song from The Doors’ album L.A. Woman. Written in E minor, the track has the characteristic melancholy of the minor keys, with a modal keyboard line that serves to create the perfect storm.
The song is said to be inspired lyrically by serial killer Billy Cook, and stylistically by a 1948 country recording by Stan Jones’ ‘(Ghost) Riders in the Sky’.
This song about storms would become an icon of psychedelic jazz-rock, and would also be the last record Jim Morrison would record before his death in 1971.
11. Rain – The Script
The lead single from their 2017 studio album Freedom Child. The moving piano and vocal work from frontman Danny O’Donoghue lend a sense of dreadful sadness to a song with so much summer in its lyrics.
The perfect track if you are feeling like there is a storm on your summer’s day.
12. Shelter From The Storm – Bob Dylan
One of Dylan’s most well-known songs, Shelter from the Storm, was recorded in 1974 and released on his 1975 album Blood On The Tracks. This would be Dylan’s 15th studio album.
Lyrically, Shelter from The Storm features the epic storytelling that Dylan is known for. Playing harmonica, guitar and providing vocals, Dylan tells you to come in from the storm, settle down somewhere warm, and recover a little.
13. Here Comes The Flood – Peter Gabriel
After his departure from Genesis in 1975, Peter Gabriel headed into the studio to work on his first studio album. Two years later, in 1977, he would release it.
Here Comes the Flood is a tempestuous ballad featuring the guitar work of King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp.
Gabriel has said that the mood that the song was trying to capture was that of a mental flood. Being overwhelmed and swept away by the storm.
14. Storm Warning – Bonnie Raitt
Storm Warning, taken from Raitt’s 1994 12th album, Longing In Their Hearts. The song was written by the great Terry Britten who has worked with Tina Turner, Cliff Richards, and Michael Jackson.
The song is a gentle ballad, opening with acoustic guitars and muted percussion. Bonnie Raitt’s vocals carry the mellow melody.
15. November Rain – Guns and Roses
Guns and Roses’ third studio outing, Use Your Illusion, would prove to be one of the band’s most important releases. The song stormed up the charts, taking them all the way up to number 4 on the UK singles chart.
Moving in a different direction from the brash rock and roll of their previous albums, Use Your Illusion saw Axl Rose experiment with symphonic ballads, rather than the straightforward rock that Slash and Duff McKagan favored at the time.
Axl proved to be right though because this ballad caused rocker hearts everywhere to want to dance in the cold November rain. The music video would become iconic and would give us the image of slash and his guitar solo.
Although not exactly a song about a storm, this track did have a rather wet feel to it.
16. Storm Coming – Gnarls Barkley
From Gnarls Barkley’s 2006 St Elsewhere album, this infectious song featured the production talents of electronica legend Danger Mouse. The sense of magical motion in the track is reminiscent of psychedelic rock.
The track has definite gospel influences, while combining the disjointed laid-back feel of early psychedelia before building to an infectious beat that you cannot help tapping a foot to.
Definitely a song for those moody, cloudy days.
17. Set Fire To The Rain – Adele
Released on her second studio album, 21, in 2011, Set Fire to The Rain would be Adele’s third consecutive number one single from that album.
Producer Fraser T Smith knew exactly how to craft a number 1 hit single. A striking power-pop ballad with exceptionally rich instrumentation and complex string arrangements in the key of E minor.
This song about storms speaks of the stormy ups and downs of relationships and being unable to let go. Adele’s expansive vocal range further underlines the song’s sadness and loss.
18. Stormy Weather – The Pixies
The Pixies are one of the defining sounds of the 90s alternative scene. Their 1990 album Bossanova would be their third studio outing and featured several well-known tracks such as Dig For Fire.
A less well-known song from the same album is Stormy Weather. An undiscovered gem of a tune that features the surf sound that made the Pixies who they are.
Lyrically and musically not that complex, it really captures that surf vibe. Grab your surfboards and head out in the rain.
19. Lightning Crashes – Live
From their 1994 album Throwing Copper, which sold 8 million copies, Lightning Crashes was an unlikely hit.
Opening with a haunting and sparse electric guitar line, and building to a crashing crescendo, Lightning Crashes draws on frontman Ed Kowalczyk’s discovery of Indian spirituality.
This song of stormy weather talks about the interconnected nature of life. There can’t be calm without a storm.
20. Storms – Fleetwood Mac
Storms is taken from Fleetwood Mac’s 1979 album Tusk. Written by Stevie Nicks, this song about storms is rumored to be about her sometimes troubled relationship with Lindsay Buckingham.
The album was released during a tempestuous time for the band, where breakups and tensions threatened to shatter Fleetwood Mac.
Storms speaks to that experience with lyrics that capture the sadness of loss, and a feeling of being unable to change who you are and go back to the way things used to be.
21. Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
The Beatles’ 1969 Abbey Road album would go down in the annals of music history. The album that made that street crossing part of the collective psyche.
Here Comes the Sun would present a stylistically important development for the band. John Harrison makes use of frequent time signature changes throughout the song, a clear sign of his Indian Classical Music influences.
Here Comes the Sun would also allow the band to experiment with newer instruments. The sound we hear in the song is that of a Moog synthesizer, relatively new in 1969.
22. Thunder – Imagine Dragons
Released in 2017 on their 3rd studio album Evolve, Thunder is a confidence-building hurricane of a song.
Built around an almost military cadence and the bounce of the vocals put through a pitch filter makes this song about storms absolutely anthemic.
23. I of The Storm – Of Monsters and Men
The 2nd single released by the Icelandic folk-rock band Of Monsters and Men, on their 2015 second studio album Beneath The Skin.
The official art for the single was produced by Leif Podhajsky, known for his work with bands like Tame Impala and London Grammar.
The haunting folk rock of this stormy song and the introspective nature of the lyrics make this a soulful track to spend your rainy days with.
24. The Rain Song – Led Zeppelin
Released in 1973 on Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy, The Rain Song has quite a colorful backstory.
Reportedly, The Rain Song was reportedly penned by Jimmy Page after George Harrison of The Beatles told drummer John Bonham that the problem with Led Zeppelin was that they just couldn’t write ballads.
In response, guitarist Jimmy Page wrote a 7 minute-long epic of a stormy ballad that would become one of the band’s longest-living hits.
25. Electrical Storm – U2
Electrical Storm is a single released from U2’s second compilation album The Best of 1990–2000.
The lyrics, written by frontman Bono, tell the story of a thunderous fight between lovers. The characteristic guitar sound of the Edge is contrasted against Bono’s vocals and the drum work of Larry Mullen Jr combine to create the tension and electricity of the song.
26. Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones
The moody opening song to 1969’s Let it Bleed album. This song comes from One of The Rolling Stones’ more bleak albums, dealing with themes like the Vietnam war.
Written by the band’s songwriting duo Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, this song about storms was inspired by Richard’s jealousy at the growing relationship between Mick Jagger and actress Anita Pallenberg, Richard’s then-girlfriend.
The track opens with a guitar solo that is very soon joined by Richard’s vocals to create a stormy and tempestuous mood.
27. Ridin’ The Storm Out – REO Speedwagon
The title track from their 1973 album Ridin’ The Storm Out, this song would become a hit for the band.
Opening with screaming guitars in the flavor of stadium rock that only REO Speedwagon can bring, the stormy whirl of the track moves around you like thunder.
The music does a great job of conveying a feeling of being trapped in a storm and needing to hunker down and ride it out. Not surprising as the song was inspired by a snow storm.
The song tells the story of the band getting stuck in a blizzard after a show had been canceled at a bar called Tulagi’s in Boulder, Colorado.
A perfect song for when you need to stay put, and just wait it out.
There you have it, the 27 best songs about storms we could round up. If you liked this list, do yourself a favor and check out some of the other great articles on our blog.