This is the closing track from Greendale, a rock opera set in the fictional California seaside town of Greendale. It offers 10 songs with interlocking storylines about how the extended Green family is torn apart by the killing of their wealthy patriarch.
"Be The Rain" follows "Sun Green" where the titular character becomes an environmental activist in Alaska. It finds Neil Young visiting one of his most prominent themes as he criticizes the damage governments and large corporations are doing to "Mother Earth."
Young, drummer Ralph Molina, and bassist Billy Talbot recorded the song at Young's Broken Arrow Ranch in Redwood City, California. Molina recalled to Uncut magazine: "'Be The Rain' is one of the rockers on the album. Neil started playing, Billy and I jumped in, and then while we were recording my snare broke. It was about halfway through, but I didn't want to stop, so I kept playing. In the studio they had to add a little snare to it."
Young uses two mics taped together when playing this song on stage, one for his regular singing and one for the shouted parts – "Be the rain!"