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Who'll Stop The Rain? by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Album: Cosmo's FactoryReleased: 1970Charted:
2
8
  • Group leader John Fogerty wrote this song. The song is often interpreted as a protest of the Vietnam War (like "Fortunate Son"), but when he performed it at the Arizona state fair in 2012, Fogerty told the crowd that he had been at Woodstock, watching the rain come down. He watched the festival goers dance in the rain, muddy, naked, cold, huddling together, and it just kept raining. So when he got back home after that weekend, he sat down and wrote "Who'll Stop the Rain," making it not a Vietnam protest at all, but a recounting of his Woodstock experience.
  • This was used in the 1978 motion picture of the same name starring Nick Nolte as a Vietnam veteran. The movie was going to be called Dog Soldiers, but when the producers got the rights to use this song, they changed the title to Who'll Stop The Rain.
  • This was released as the B-side to "Travelin' Band." It's one of the many CCR singles to stall at #2. Creedence Clearwater Revival never had a #1 hit in the US.
  • The line, "I went down Virginia, seekin' shelter from the storm" gave Bob Dylan the idea for the title of his 1975 song "Shelter From The Storm."
  • This is one of many rain-themed CCR songs, including "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?"
  • When interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine, John Fogerty was asked, "Does 'Who'll Stop The Rain' contain lyrically specific meanings besides the symbolic dimension?" His response: "Certainly, I was talking about Washington when I wrote the song, but I remember bringing the master version of the song home and playing it. My son Josh was four years old at the time, and after he heard it, he said, 'Daddy stop the rain.' And my wife and I looked at each other and said, 'Well, not quite.'" (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for above 3)
  • Bruce Springsteen opened with this song during his summer stadium tour of 2003 whenever it was raining. (thanks, Brandon - New York, NY)
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Comments: 33

On March 1st 1970, "Travelin' Band" b/w "Who'll Stop The Rain" it peaked at #2 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Top chart; it entered the chart on January 25th at position #50 and spent 10 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 5 of those 10 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
It reached #1 in Belgium and the Netherlands...
The two weeks it was at #2 the #1 record was "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel..
Was the quartet's fifth in a string of nine straight records to make the Top 10; started with "Proud Mary" (#2 for 3 weeks), "Bad Moon Rising (#2 for 1 week), "Green River" (#2 for 1 week), "Down On The Corner" (#3), this one, "Up Round The Bend" (#4), "Lookin' Out My Back Door" (#2 for 1 week), "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" (#8), and finally "Sweet Hitch Hiker" (#6)...
R.I.P. Tom Fogerty (1941 - 1990).
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
"I went down Virginia, seekin' shelter from the storm." - Fogerty served in the Army Reserve at Ft Lee, Virginia. By volunteering for the reserves, he avoided the draft and service in Vietnam. Just a thought.Steve - Minnieville, Va
@ Paul, Croydon, PA. I agree 100%Eric - Milwuakee, Wi
as a protest song by Creedence Clearwater Revival i think this song stands the test of time and will be forever, i am a massive CCR fan until it changes.
Bruce Springsteen used to use this whenever he went on the Rising tour, and i have to remember that
Karl - Ingatestone, United Kingdom
I know John Fogarty was a musical genius - not taking anything away from the man, but gosh damn, I wish he would have shared the limelight a little more with his equally talented bandmates. This is one of the most beautiful songs ever and I attribute largely to the lush, majestic harmonies you don't hear on very many other CCR songs. Just think where CCR may have gone to if John wasn't so bullheaded and selfish in the vocal department 'cause this song proves they really had it. Simply stellar.Paul - Croydon, Pa
Good tune. At the moment it's raining here by the way. I have always wondered if the Virginia in this song was a reference to the state or a specific person.J.d. - Mercer County, Nj
When I was 9 years old (1969). A neighbor boy turned me on to CCR. He traded me the 45 single "Travelin' Band"/"Who'll Stop The Rain" for another record,don't remember what it was. Anyway, I have been a fan since then. On my 10th birthday I bought the "Willie and The Poor Boys" album. I couldn't decide between it or "Cosmos Factory" which contained "Travelin' Band and Who'll Stop The Rain". But I bought the other because it contained "Fortunate Son". I used to always think it was about Viet Nam. Then someone told me it was about Woodstock. I guess it could have been about both. Afterall Creedence were at the original Woodstock festival.Wayne - Salem, Va
Am i alone in thinkin it sounds like neil young?Martin - Chichester, United Kingdom
Five year plans were the Soviet Union. The New Deal obviously Roosevelt. It's statement regarding his disenchantment with both political philosophies. And only the last verse is about Woodstock.Ed - Lebanon, Pa
John Fogerty was NOT a Vietnam veteran. He served in a army reserve unit stateside. He was a great song writer and felt deeply that the war was wrong but he was never there.Mark - Bellevue, Oh
I used to like this song until constant overplay on classic rock stations and its use in a mediocre motion picture that took its name from a song to which it otherwise wasn't related pretty much ruined it for me.Sam - Lincoln, Ne
How 'bout,
"Long as I remember the rain been comin down."
-The rain is the powers that be pissing on the common man
"Clouds of mystery pourin' confusion on the ground"
-the clouds are obviously the source of the rain and the confusion is the bull that the Establishment would have the masses believe
"Good men through the ages, tryin to find the sun"
-heroes like the Kennedy's and MLK that tried to lead the people to 'the light' from which the oppressors would keep the masses
"Caught up in the fable"
-refers to the metaphorical Camelot of the Kennedy Administration and the hopes and dreams for a new day in American politics that it represented, and
"I watched the tower grow"
-references the country's strength (the towers of the castle)and also the Pentagon ;
"Five year plans and new deals"
-politics as usual (empty promises)
"wrapped in golden chains"
-the gold is attractive, but the chains are representitive of the machine that keeps the common man down.
-Just my perspective
Keith - Millville , Nj
also refers to the rain at woodstock that went on for almost the entire weekendDavid - Wilson, Ny
Al Bundy(Ed O'Neil) sang along to this song once on an episode of "Married with Children".Mark - Byrdstown, Tn
The American politicans didn't get the meaning behind the song. So they allowed it to be played on Vietnam radios though it was against the war.David - Baden-baden, Germany
"Who'll Stop the Rain" is written in the classic folk tradition about the lives of common people neglected by those in power. It's a political statement against politicians who boast of all the wonderful accomplishments they pretend to have achieved, but in reality have done nothing to improve peoples lives. Wishing for someone to stop the "rain" is a masked reference to wishing someone will rise up to stop the "reign" of neglect toward common folk.Jeff - Queens, Ny
I AM WONDERING WHO WILL STOP THE RAIN
FROM GOING SO FAST THAT CARS BEAT TRAIN
I IMAGINE A WORLD WERE PEOPLE KEE THEIR WORD
I COULD SEE FUTURE GENERATIONS VERY GOOD
BUT I AM STILL WONDERING WHO'LL GIVE THEM FOOD
OLIVIER DORIA
Olivier Doria - London, England
Fogerty wrote this song after performing at Woodstock. As we all know, Woodstock was a peaceful demonstration in support of stopping the war (excuse me "conflict") in Vietnam. John Fogerty is a Vietnam Veteran serving in the Army at least from 1966 - 1967.

I really "dig" the comment above comparing the "rain" to a "reign." Nice insight Myriam! However, as Eduardo points out, lets not forget the whole third paragraph which ends the song back on a lighter note with a simple description of the rainy event young protestors experienced at Woodstock.

In the long run, IMHO, "Who'll Stop the Rain" is both a simple song about the rain at Woodstock linked in parallel by the purpose of Woodstock as a peaceful protest of the Vietnam "conflict? and War in general.

Like Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson and perhaps even Kristofferson and Willie Nelson, John Fogerty is Pure Genius when he writes a song. Love you John! I?m looking forward to the new album Revivel.
Lauren - Leesburg, Va
The idea of rain represents lies from the government the clouds resents misleading every one and the sun represents a nirvana. ?went down Virginia seekin' shelter from the storm? means he turned to Washington for answers. ?Caught up in the fable,? this means every one was caught up in the lie of society. I believe ?I watched the tower grow? has a double meaning talking about the escalation of Vietnam and a reference to the tower of Babel saying we cannot be perfect. ?Five year plans and new deals wrapped in golden chains.? This shows all government ideas of improvement help them in the end not us. The last verse says people are banding together trying to over come the lies but there are still lies in society.Mike - Boca, Oh
I think John Fogerty had a thing about rains or storm, I myself have a thing for clouds, if I was a song writer I guess i'll write song about clouds.Noe - Los Angeles, Ca
The Rolling Stones are good but CCR blows the Stones away as far as I'm concerened. I have been listening to the songs from Cosmos factory album since I was 3 years old. My parents told me I used to jump off the couch with a toy guitar listening to the music. I'm 30 now....some times I still get that urge to jump on top of the couch when I hear CCR hahahahaha Who'll Stop the Rain is a classic.Mike - Hueytown , Al
It is my beleif that rain is used as a metaphore for bombs, as in the massive bombing/"carpet bombing" in Vietnam. I believe I heard this from a wise DJ back in the day. Question? Who's going to stop the bombing? / Who's going to stop the war?Randy - San Luis Obispo, Ca
Somebody know if JF wrote this song to remember the rain in woodstock 1969
Eduardo, Monterrey, Mexico
Eduardo - Monterrey, Mexico
One of the many songs that are peaceful yet desperate. Kinda makes me sad, well, not kinda, it really does. This was one of the first CCR songs I ever heard, maybe 6 years ago or so, when I was 10, when my dad was listening to it. I always thought it was one of the most honest songs I have ever heard. It has this sense of longing that tries to communicate the message that a lot of us wish for peace, but we can never acheive it because the government always prevents it and we have no control. In the last few years it's become very important again, with the Iraq war.Ashley - Moncton, Canada
First song of Bruce Springsteen's U.S. stops of his 2003 world tour. He played it because it was an antiwar song and he was against the war in Iraq. Abroad, Springsteen played "War (What Is It Good For?)" instead.David - South Sf, Ca
John Fogerty, genius. Enough said.Jolene - Melbourne, Australia
Makes sense why it would be about Vietnam. John Fogerty wrote quite a few songs about Vietnam in those days.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
I always thought of it as a pun - you know like "who'll stop the reign" hence the reference to 5-yr plans and new deals"... i dunno i might just be pulling this out of nowhereMyriam - Montreal, Canada
I heard John Fogerty on a radio interview several years ago. He stated that this song was specifically asking who would stop the rain of B.S. coming from Washington D.C. during the Vietnam war.Tom - Clyde, Tx
of the best songs to listen to during the summer, with long hair, rugged facial hair, and a cigarette in hand while sitting in hot summer outdoorsVictor - Vienna, Va
This is another great seventies song with subtle political references. "I went down Virginia Seekin' shelter from the storm Caught up in the fable I watched the tower grow Five year plans and new deals Wrapped in golden chains" This lyric is refering to socialism in America and the world. Stalin created the five year plans and F D roosevelt the new Deal. but golden chains is all you get. the Tower is that of Babel (bible reference).Edward - Virginia Beach, Va
Regarding the CCR/Stones comment:

Wow. Something not even I would notice. And, they thought I was a Stones-CCR critic.

Sorry for the sarcasm, Brett, I just thought I would want to say that.
Brandon - Seattle, Wa
There are a lot of similiarities between this and the Rolling Stones' similiar protest song "Gimme Shelter". They both have titles that express a desire to get away from something, and the first line of "Gimme Shelter" is "Ooh, the storm is threatening my very life today, if I don't get some shelter, I'm gonna fade away". In both cases, war is represented by stormy rain. In fact, one line in "Who'll Stop the Rain?" says "I went down Virginia, SEEKING SHELTER FROM THE STORM"- a direct parrallel. There are also some musical similiarities; both songs are neither fast nor slow, and are based mostly on the guitar playing throughout the song in a rather "rolling" manner (you need to hear them to understand). Finally, they are both the names of movies.Brett - Edmonton, Canada