Creedence Clearwater Revival

Have You Ever Seen the Rain?

Song Review by

Images of water were a common recurring theme in John Fogerty's songwriting, which held a variety of symbolic meanings, and he often returned to the notion of rain as a portent of troubling events to come. One such example was "Have You Ever Seen the Rain," which first appeared on the group's 1970 album Pendulum, though in this case the rain seemed to represent an unpleasant reality that lurked beneath the surfaces of our lives and our world. "Someone told me long ago/There's a calm before the storm/I know -- it's been coming for some time," Fogerty sings with a passion that's cut with sadness, though when he reaches the chorus and asks "I wanna know -- have you ever seen the rain/Comin' down on a sunny day?" it's obvious that the rain is always there, but that not all of us choose to see it. In 1970, a time when the giddy possibilities of political and social change of the late '60s had been put in check by the sobering realities of Altamont and Kent State and both rock & roll and the youth culture at large were beginning to move away from idealism and into the self-centered decadence of the '70s, Fogerty was one of the few songwriters grounded enough to suggest the issues had not gone away, but that we had lost the courage and the vision to face up to them. John Fogerty didn't write explicitly about politics often, but when he chose to do so, he spoke with the voice of a working-class populist whose idealism never subsumed his grasp of reality, and if "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" carries its message subtly, it also does so with clarity and a concision that's a testament to Fogerty's remarkable craft (the song manages to conjure up a world of dread and fear in a mere two and a half minutes). The performance on Pendulum is just as subtle and effective as the song itself, centered around the ringing chords of Fogerty's guitar, the firm sonic punctuations of a piano, and sustained organ chords that were the musical equivalent of the clouds looming on the horizon. In 1985, another California band who never lost sight of their working-class roots and their commitment to the politics of the common people, the Minutemen, covered the song on what would be their final album, Three Way Tie (For Last), and if D. Boon's vocal was a shade less commanding than John Fogerty's, it also served as a heartfelt tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival's vision from another band, who, for all their differences, certainly shared their less-is-more philosophy and firm ethical compass.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Pendulum 1970 Fantasy 2:40
Creedence Gold 1972 Fantasy 2:39
Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits 1976 Fantasy 2:38
No Image 1982 Fantasy
Sounds of the Seventies: 1971 1989
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:39
Creedence Clearwater Revival [Time Life] 198? Fantasy 2:40
No Image 1990 Fantasy
The Best of Creedence Clearwater Revival [Fantasy Canada] 1998 Fantasy 2:38
Ultimate Collection 1998 Mushroom Records 2:39
Collection 1999 Fantasy 2:40
Keep on Chooglin' [Festival] 1999 Festival Records 2:41
Creedence Clearwater Revival [Box Set] 2001 Fantasy 2:40
Best of Creedence Clearwater Revival [EMI] 2003 EMI Music Distribution 2:41
Platinum 2004 BMG International 2:42
Greatest Hits [2005] 2005 Rock 2:38
The Long Road Home: The Ultimate John Fogerty/Creedence Collection 2005 Fantasy 2:38
Absolute Originals 2006 APO (Analogue Production Originals) 2:40
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of the Songs of John Fogerty 2007 Hip-O 2:40
The Best of the Songs of John Fogerty 20th Century Masters the Millennium Collection 2007 Hip-O 2:38
Evan Almighty [Original Soundtrack] 2007
Original Soundtrack
Curb 2:47
Rock Legends 2008 Concord Neu 2:42
Best Of 2008 Universal International 2:41
While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Very Best Of 2008
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:39
Collected 2008 Universal Distribution 2:41
Tour of Duty: Top 100 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:40
40th Anniversary Editions Box Set 2009 Universal Distribution / Concord / Universal / Fantasy 2:40
Opus Collection 2009 Hear Music 2:40
The Singles Collection 2009 Concord / Fantasy 2:40
Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival: Greatest Hits & All-Time Classics 2012 Concord / Fantasy 2:40
Greatest Hits 2014 Fantasy 2:40
No Image Phantom