Musicians often turn to the skies for inspiration. It’s a rich source of material with plenty of opportunities to fire the imagination with the use of imagery and metaphors.
Some of the best songs about thunder and lightning come from a wide range of musical styles. Hopefully, I cover most of the bases, although there are still bound to be a few omissions along the way. So, enjoy listening as I take a closer look, starting with…
Top 70 Best Songs About Thunder and Lightning
Thunderstruck by AC/DC
Let’s kick this thing off with a group of real heavy-hitters. This is a phenomenal band. I saw them twice back in the 80s, and I can tell you that they are one of the tightest live-performing bunch of musicians I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen plenty!
Sadly, I never got to see “Thunderstruck” performed live. That’s because it wasn’t released until the 1990s as the main single off their album, Razors Edge. A few years after, I’d last gone to see them in Brian Johnson’s hometown of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It made it to #5 in the US.
The song was written by Malcolm and Angus Young together with Brian Johnson, who provided the lyrics. The combination of amazing riffs, high musical intensity, and a cleverly crafted story, is everything that we’ve come to expect from AC/DC over the years.
So, what is it all about?
Essentially, this is a breakup song. However, don’t expect any tears or emotional reaching. Search as you may; there are none to be found. This song is pure Rock and Roll. And it’s one of the greatest songs about thunder and lightning ever recorded.
“Thunderstruck” refers to the blindsiding of a sudden relationship split, and the song deals with the subsequent fall-out in typical hard rock style. That means going out, partying, and having a good time. You don’t need much imagination to interpret what that entails with a quick scan of the lyrics.
Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen is a working-class hero for millions of blue-collar workers in the US and around the world. His songs about the struggles and concerns of everyday life still strike a strong chord (pun intended) among generations of music lovers to this day.
His success can be dated back to his third album, Born to Run, released in 1975. The most well-known and popular track of the album was also titled “Born to Run.” However, the first track off the album, “Thunder Road,” although never released as a single, has received more critical acclaim.
So, why is this, and what’s the main theme of the song?
The opening piano sequence is accompanied by the haunting playing of the harmonica. Very much a trademark of Springsteen’s music. This nicely sets up the mood of struggle, which symbolizes the life of Mary, the main character in the song.
One of the beauties of “Thunder Road” is how it continues to build in intensity. This duplicates the potential hope for a future life that Mary contemplates during the song. It all comes down to the decision to walk off her porch, get into her boyfriend’s car, and drive away to something better.
This kind of crossroads in life, based around hope and a new path, is instantly relatable to so many of us. Although, it’s seldomly so well expressed. It’s no wonder then that Bruce Springsteen has achieved such incredible success throughout his songwriting career.
Grease Lightnin’ by John Travolta
This is a song made famous by John Travolta in the 1978 movie “Grease,” in which he co-starred with Olivia Newton-John. The song was originally written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey in 1971.
It comes from the movie soundtrack and was released in tandem with the movie. The single reached a lowly position of #47 in the US, although it did achieve Top 10 status in some countries. Rather surprisingly, given Olivia Newton John’s involvement, it only reached #40 in Australia.
So, what is “Grease Lightnin’?
“Grease Lightnin’’’ is about a car of the same name. It belongs to the main character of the movie, Danny, who is played by John Travolta. Danny is a member of a gang that’s central to the movie.
Danny first introduces the car to his gang, and it’s clear to see that his fellow gang members are skeptical about its condition. At this point in the movie, Danny gears up (I know!) and delivers a heartfelt defense of his pride and joy.
His pitch is accompanied by upbeat, high-tempo music, a lot of dancing, and harmonies too. It’s an unmistakable sound that can be heard throughout the rest of the musical. For me, it’s also an unmistakable sound of the late 70s. And is one of the best songs about thunder and lightning, too.
Living in Lightning by City and Colour
City and Colour is the name by which the Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green is best known. He was born in 1980 and became popular at just 25 years old with the release of his first album, Sometimes, in 2005.
There’s no doubt that Dallas has drawn inspiration from artists like Bob Dylan and Neil Young. That explains a lot, although it still never ceases to amaze me how simple yet beautiful his music is.
“Living in Lightning” is one of Dallas’s latest songs. It is the third single released from the amazing album, A Pill For Loneliness, which was brought out in October 2019. The single was the first on the album but the third to be released. Disappointingly, it didn’t receive any chart success.
So, what’s this song about?
Given that this is one of his latest pieces of work, it comes as no surprise that the message of the song centers around the burdens and price of success. It carries with it the notion that this is still something he carries around with him and, as yet, has not fully come to terms with.
Accompanying the somewhat mournful lyrics is a typically simple tune and melody. Which, of course, is sung in his high, clear, distortion-free, and beautifully distinctive voice. When it comes to the best songs talking about thunder and lightning, it’s right up there.
God of Thunder by Kiss
Kiss is a band like no other. Their music very much falls into the genre of Hard Rock. However, their live performances, featuring theatrical make-up and clothing, have too often wrongly put them into the Glam Rock category. A quick listen to any of their work will quickly dispel that for sure.
The band hail from New York City and was formed in 1973. “God of Thunder” was written by Paul Stanley, who, together with Gene Simmons, shares lead vocal duties.
Interestingly, although the song was written by Stanley, it was handed over to be sung by Simmons as the manager at the time thought it was a better fit for his voice.
Turned out to be the right move…
The song featured on their fourth album, Destroyer. It was released in March 1976, achieved triple-platinum status, and stayed on the charts for 78 weeks. Although it became one of their most acclaimed songs and was performed in many of their live sets, it was never released as a single.
The song is filled with heavy chords and menacing vocals fused with lyrical references to Greek Gods and the perceived evil of the music industry. Although open to interpretation, it appears that Stanley was trying to champion a new God of Music through the song.
Thunder Underground by Ozzy Osbourne
It’s hard to write anything about Ozzy or his music that hasn’t been written before. As the lead singer of Black Sabbath and as a solo artist, his voice was and remains epic. He is widely regarded as the founder of Heavy Metal, and his influence on music to this day is huge.
I was lucky enough to see him live in 1982. An experience I’ll never forget. This was after the sad passing of Randy Rhoads and before the days of Zakk Wylde, who was the lead guitarist on “Thunder Underground.”
The song came off Ozzy’s seventh album, released in 1995, Ozzmosis. It sold over three million copies despite very mixed reviews. Along with Zakk Wylde, the album featured drummer Deen Castronovo, former Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler, and renowned keyboard player Rick Wakeman.
Pure Prince of Darkness…
“Thunder Underground” is instantly recognizable as an Ozzy song. The heavy riffs and dark, hard underlying sound have his signature sound running through it. This, of course, is punctuated with Ozzy’s high-pitched and, at times, demonic-sounding voice.
The track has a few themes running through it. This primarily includes the disillusionment with big business, politicians, and the confinements and expectations of society. Not exactly Rock and Roll, but an awesome song about thunder all the same.
Summer and Lightning by ELO
Jeff Lynne is one of my all-time favorite musicians. There are very few songs he’s written that I don’t like. In fact, I love “Summer and Lightning” and also every other song from the double album, Out of the Blue, from which it was taken.
His music is characterized by complex layers that include the use of multiple instruments. Additionally, it also features wonderful musical harmonies and is all backed up by the masterful keyboard playing of Richard Tandy.
Out of the Blue had five singles released. These were “Turn to Stone,” “Mr. Blue Sky,” “Sweet Talking Woman,” “Wild West Hero,” and “It’s Over.” However, “Summer and Lightning” was not released as a single. The album went on to sell an incredible ten million copies.
So, what about “Summer and Lightning”?
This is a plain and simple love song. It’s unclear as to whether the love was reciprocated or if it was a case of unrequited love. However, love it certainly was. The ambiguity of the lyrics leads me to believe that the true meaning of the song will ever only be known by Jeff Lynne.
The one thing we can reasonably assume is the overall optimistic mood of the song. The musical break towards the end brings with it a more up-tempo beat and finishes with a flurry that leads into the hugely feel-good song of “Mr. Blue Sky.”
All in all, a wonderful song. And, although not to everyone’s taste, I think it justly deserves its Top 10 slot in the best songs about thunder and lightning.
Thunder in Heart by Leo Sayer
Leo Sayer is a British-born singer-songwriter who will probably be remembered as much for his huge perm as his music. His musical style is a combination of Pop and Soft Rock. Although, it’s been said that he also falls into the Disco genre. Honestly, I’m not so sure about that one.
“Thunder in my Heart” was the first single to be released off the same-titled album, which was brought out in 1977. It was his fifth album that also included the single “Easy to Love,” which was released later in the same year.
The song was written by Leo Sayer in collaboration with Tom Snow. It received limited commercial success on its release. However, in 2006, there was a re-released dance mix that went on to #1 in the UK and #16 in Australia.
Not out-and-out disco…
But, there’s no doubt that it does have a beat and feel, closely matching the genre at the time. The song featured several musicians and backing vocalists. Over thirty in all.
It is essentially a love song that centers around the feeling of instantaneous love and the emotions around it. In contrast to these feelings, he also expresses the emotions of personal turmoil surrounding his life.
These are not fully explained, and it’s up to the listener to come up with their own interpretations as to what they might be. But, if you want a disco song about thunder and lightning, this one is worth a listen.
Thunder on the Mountain by Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan was born in 1941 and became one of the most influential musicians of his generation, if not of all time. His powerful lyrics fused with a combination of Rock and Folk led him to huge commercial success over an incredible 60-year career.
“Thunder on the Mountain” was released late in his illustrious career. It came out in 2006, which is an incredible 44 years after the release of his first self-titled album, Bob Dylan. The single’s 2006 release was the first track from the album Modern Times.
Interestingly, although the album was produced by Dylan, like most of his work since the turn of the new millennium, the production credit was under his pseudonym, Jack Frost. It’s not entirely sure why this was the case, but a cool fact nevertheless.
A modern Dylan track…
“Thunder on the Mountain” received a lot of airplay at the time. Furthermore, it proved to be the second most played track of the album. Additionally, despite not being released as a single in the US, it still managed to hit the alternative Billboard charts reaching as high as #22.
The song covers the theme of love, romance, and religion. There are a series of biblical references throughout the song. Plus, Dylan sings about one of his homes and a rather famous former resident, none other than Alicia Keys.
Thunder Rolls by Garth Brooks
I can’t in all conscience include a list like this without at least one Country song amongst them. With that said, “Thunder Rolls” by the huge country star Garth Brooks is undoubtedly the strongest contender.
“Thunder Rolls” was co-written by Pat Alger, who also played acoustic guitar on the recording. The song is Country through and through. This is Nashville to the core. It came out on April 30th, 1991, and achieved huge commercial success. Like just about everything ever recorded by Brooks.
The song featured on his second album, Fences. It was the fourth and final single to be released. It went to #1 on the Country Charts and was his sixth #1 single. So, if you want one of the most popular songs about thunder and lightning, you just found one.
Thunder in the Night by Elton John
Ride the Lightning by Metallica
White Lightning by Def Leppard
Lightning’s Hand by Kansas
Lightning Strikes Again by Dokken
Thundering Hearts by John Mellencamp
Lightning Love by The Vines
Lightning Over Water by Roger Waters
Thunder on the Mountain by Joe Perry
Thunder Child by Jeff Wayne
Lightning Love Affair by Joel Vaughn
Lightning Strikes the Postman by The Flaming Lips
Lightning Storm by Flogging Molly
Thunderous Silence by Melanie Fiona
Thunderous Whisper by The Struts
Thunder and Lightning Polka by Johann Strauss II
Thunder in the Rain by Kane Brown
Rollin’ Thunder by B.B. King
Caught in the Rain by Revis
Heat Lightning by Ida Maria
Dance in the Thunder by Brett Young
Devil’s Thunder by Mogwai
Lightning Man by Nitzer Ebb
Thunder, Lightning, Strike by The Go! Team
Lightning Days by Pearl Jam
Shockwave by Liam Gallagher
Lightning Strikes by Aerosmith
Black Thunder by Doomriders
Lightning Rod by Guster
Lightning in the Bottle by Alex Day
Thunderbirds are Go by Busted
Storm and Thunder by Earth and Fire
Stormbringer by Deep Purple
Thunder Kiss ’65 by White Zombie
Thundergods by Sabaton
More 25 Songs About Thunder and Lightning
- Thunder Road by Robert Mitchum
- Lightning by Eric Church
- Thunderbird by ZZ Top
- Lightning by The Wanted
- Lightning Crashes by Live
- Thunder by Leona Lewis
- Lightning Bolt by Jake Bugg
- Thunder and Lightning by Phil Collins
- Thunderstorm by 3 Doors Down
- Thunder by Boys Like Girls
- Thunderstorm by Lifehouse
- Lightning in the Sky by Santana
- Thunderbird by Far East Movement
- Lightning in the Sky by Devlin
- Thunder Road by James Taylor
- Lightning by The Glorious Sons
- Thunder by Nuttin’ But Stringz
- Black Thunder by As I Lay Dying
- Lightning Bolt by Pearl Jam
- Thunderous by Ravin
- Lightning in a Bottle by Jake Scott
- Thunder by Chelsea Cutler
- Lightning by Rachael Yamagata
- Thunder by Easton Corbin
- Thunderbolt by Bruce Dickinson
What makes this song particularly interesting?
That would be the missing fourth verse. The original song explores the discontent within a marriage. “Thunder” is a metaphor for the rolling emotions and disharmony of the relationship.
The added fourth verse continues this exploration. However, it takes things to a whole new level by ending with the murder of the cheating husband at the hands of his wife.
So, where did this fourth verse come from?
Originally, the song was written for Tanya Tucker. However, her producer was not entirely satisfied with it and asked for an extra verse to be added. This was duly done and included the revenge of the scorned wife.
Tucker omitted the song from her album. Subsequently, Brooks picked it up again but dropped the additional verse. Tucker did go on to record it in 1995 with the fourth verse included.
Looking For Awesome Songs?
We have you covered. Take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs About Magic, the Best Songs About Dreams, the Best Songs About Fire, the Best Songs About Clouds, the Best Songs About the Sun and Sunshine, as well as the Best Songs about Fighting for more great song selections.
And, you need to hear those tunes. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Headphones For Rock & Metal Music, the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Headphones Under $200, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, and the Best Bass Earbuds you can buy in 2023.
Best Songs About Thunder and Lightning – Final Thoughts
So, there you have it. Ten of the best songs about lightning and thunder. Well, at least what I think are the best ten. Although, I’m sure nearly all of you will have very different ideas.
As far as my favorite song goes, that has to be the first one on the list, “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC. I honestly don’t think Rock gets much better than this. They completely smash it out of the park in all respects. What a song!
Until next time, happy listening.