After the Rain

Album: After the Rain (1990)
Charted: 6

Songfacts®:

  • The title track of Nelson's debut album, "After the Rain" finds Matthew and Gunnar Nelson comforting a girl after she has been dumped, letting her know that everything will be OK. In our interview with Gunnar, he explained that the song is autobiographical in that it was inspired by their tumultuous home life. Matthew and Gunnar are the twin sons of Rick Nelson and his wife Kristin. They were a celebrity couple, with Rick a famous musician known for his role on the long-running TV series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and Kristen the daughter of football star Tom Harmon (her brother is the actor Mark Harmon). The couple married in 1963 with Kristin was just 17. The twins were born in 1967, and by 1977 Rick and Kristin were separated, with the boys living with their mother. This was a difficult time for them, and it's what inspired the song. In our interview with Gunnar Nelson, he explained: "We had a pretty difficult four or five years in our early teens. Our parents had a really difficult divorce - a lot of alcohol involved, drug addiction, and all that stuff. It was a really painful time."
  • According to Gunnar Nelson, the song's message is encapsulated in the line, "Don't be afraid to lose what was never meant to be." Says Gunnar: "That feeling got me through those dark years in high school."
  • The video is a grand production directed by Jim Yukich, who also did the previous Nelson video, "(Can't Live Without Your) Love and Affection" as well as popular clips for Michael Bolton, Genesis, Whitney Houston, Cheap Trick and many others.

    The "After the Rain" video begins with a stark scene where an abusive father confronts his 18-year-old son, calling him a "worthless dreamer." When the boy puts on his Walkman, he falls asleep and the Nelson twins appear in apparition and take him through a wormhole to see a Native American shaman who produces a magic feather and leads him to a lair where Nelson is putting on a concert. When he wakes up, the feather is by his bedside.

    The concept of teenager escaping overbearing father through magical rock singer was popularized by Twisted Sister in their video for "We're Not Gonna Take It." Nelson pulling off the stunt is more of a stretch, since most of their audience was female, and this song is sung to a girl. And unlike the comic portrayal of the dad in Twisted Sister's videos, the father in "After the Rain" is an earnest abuser, taking the camp factor out of it. It's safe to call the clip an ambitious disaster - Spin magazine even named it "Worst Music Video of the Decade."

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