Tempestuous times have long been a go-to subject for musicians from all genres of music. Storms are often used by songwriters as a metaphor for life’s difficulties. Most commonly to represent the turbulence felt after a failed relationship.
Many a great song has been written on the subject, so I thought I’d round up 10 of the best songs about storms, starting with the classic…
- Top 10 Songs About Storms
- Stormy Monday – T-Bone Walker (1947)
- Stormy Weather – Etta James (1960)
- Riders on the Storm – The Doors (1971)
- Have You Ever Seen the Rain – Credence Clearwater Revival (1971)
- Shelter from the Storm – Bob Dylan (1974)
- Wild is the Wind – David Bowie (1976)
- Like a Hurricane – Neil Young (1977)
- Here Comes the Rain Again – Eurythmics (1984)
- Stormy Weather – The Pixies (1990)
- Thunderstruck – AC/DC – (1990)
- Looking for More Music to Fit our Mood?
- Final Thoughts on Songs about Storms
Top 10 Songs About Storms
Stormy Monday – T-Bone Walker (1947)
T-Bone Walker was a musical pioneer in the true sense of the word. He was one of the first musicians to start playing the electric guitar in the 1940s. And it was this song that inspired B.B. King to pick up the instrument.
This fundamental blues song opens with the line, “They call it stormy Monday – But Tuesday’s just as bad.” It’s a classic tale of a man down on his luck during hard times and has become a Blues standard covered by multiple artists. These include Bobby Bland and The Allman Brothers.
On its release in 1947, it charted as high as #5 in the Billboard Most Played Juke Box Race Records chart. In 1991, it was considered historically significant enough to be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. If you want a classic song about storms, you just found it.
Stormy Weather – Etta James (1960)
“Stormy Weather” was originally written by Ted Koehler and Harold Arlen in 1933. It has since been covered by numerous artists, from Frank Sinatra to Joni Mitchell.
Etta James brought her unique vocal talent to the table in her version. The song is a lament for a lost love and the dark times it has brought. She just can’t shake off the blues and the “stormy weather” that is overshadowing her life.
The song featured on her break-out album, At Last!, which is ranked by Rolling Stone magazine at 119th in their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Riders on the Storm – The Doors (1971)
Often cited as one of the greatest songs by The Doors. “Riders on the Storm” was the last song Jim Morrison recorded before he joined the 27 club. The song was released as a single the same week that Morrison died.
The storm is a metaphor for the trials and tribulations of life that we all have to ride. Sounds of rain and thunder open and close the song giving the whole piece a dark and ominous feel. Morrison had a tempestuous life, riding that storm until the very end.
The song was reasonably successful, peaking at #14 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Retrospectively, it has been recognized for its historical significance by being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. As a result, it is a well known song about storms.
Have You Ever Seen the Rain – Credence Clearwater Revival (1971)
This song has many interpretations, including as a metaphor for the mass bombing of Vietnam or a criticism of the lack of activism in the 1970s. However, writer John Fogarty says it’s about internal problems within the band itself. His brother was soon to leave Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Fogarty couldn’t understand why everyone in the band seemed so depressed. They had been more successful than they could have ever hoped for. The line, “Have you ever seen the rain – Coming down on a sunny day,” is reflective of this dichotomy.
The song topped the charts in South Africa, Malaysia, and Canada, making #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Likewise, it’s one of the most popular songs about rain and storms. And it remains one of the best songs about storms ever written.
Shelter from the Storm – Bob Dylan (1974)
This is an amazing song about storms from the masterful pen of Bob Dylan. It chronicles a man’s search for redemption through love. The protagonist is at rock bottom when he’s given hope by a new love. Sadly, he messes it all up and eventually loses her, looking back on his life with regret.
Simplicity at its finest…
Taken from the seminal album Blood on the Tracks, it is one of Dylan’s most beautiful songs. As with many Dylan songs, the focus is on the lyrics accompanied by acoustic guitar and bass only.
Three chord changes are repeated on a loop throughout the song. This simplicity allows the narrative of the story to take center stage.
Sadly, “Shelter from the Storm” was never released as a single. So, we’ll never know how well it would have done commercially. It remains a staple of Dylan’s live performances, having been a regular on his set list from 1976 to 2015.
Wild is the Wind – David Bowie (1976)
Originally recorded in 1957 by Johnny Mathis, Nina Simone also covered it in 1966. David Bowie was so taken with Simone’s version, that he decided to record it too as a tribute to the legendary singer.
In the song, the wind is used as a metaphor for love. And, in this case, that love is wild. The lyrics are incredibly touching, and Bowie does a great job of drawing every last ounce of emotion out of each line. I’m sure Nina Simone was suitably impressed.
Included in his 1976 album, Station to Station, the song wasn’t released as a single until 1981 to promote a David Bowie greatest hits album called Changestwobowie. It did reasonably well, peaking at #24 in the UK charts.
Like a Hurricane – Neil Young (1977)
Neil Young wrote this song after meeting a random woman at a bar and being completely blown away by her. Much like being hit by the full force of a hurricane.
The full album version is a joy to behold. It features an epic guitar solo in classic ramshackle Neil Young style full of feedback and raw energy. An edited down version was released as a single with most of the solo removed.
It failed to chart, but the album version has gone on to be considered one of Neil Young’s finest recordings. It’s a fan favorite and has become a staple of Young’s live shows for the past four decades.
Here Comes the Rain Again – Eurythmics (1984)
Annie Lennox’s sultry vocals are at their best on this examination of the ups and downs of a relationship. The song meanders between melancholy and uplifting chord progressions as it takes you on an emotional rollercoaster.
The arrival of the rain again signifies the depression felt when things aren’t going well in a relationship. The string arrangements played by members of the British Philharmonic Orchestra add a whole new dimension to this classic New Wave track.
“Here Comes the Rain Again” was a Top 10 hit in multiple countries, making it as high as #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Stormy Weather – The Pixies (1990)
“Stormy Weather” starts slow and builds into a crescendo whilst the incantation, “It is time for stormy weather,” is repeated over and over again. If you want some edgy mood music as a soundtrack to an imminent storm blowing in, this song would make the perfect soundtrack.
The song can be interpreted as a metaphor for tough times ahead. But, it doesn’t sound foreboding enough to be taken as too much of a dire warning. It almost sounds like a celebration of the coming difficulties.
The track is taken from their third studio album, Bossanova, but was never released as a single.
Thunderstruck – AC/DC – (1990)
It’s time to turn the volume up to 11 and blow some amplifiers with AC/DC’s headbanger “Thunderstruck.” The band proved they could still come up with the goods by releasing this global hit in their third decade as a band.
The song sees the band let rip and has become one of their most famous songs. It’s classic AC/DC at their best, featuring an epic Angus Young solo that’s up there with anything he’s done.
Since its release, the song has been featured on many movie soundtracks and TV shows. AC/DC live shows are few and far between these days. But, you can expect to hear this track if they get back on stage any time soon.
Looking for More Music to Fit our Mood?
Well, take a look at our thoughts on the Best Songs About Rain, the Best Songs About Snow, the Best Songs About Fire, the Best Songs About Winter, and the Top Songs About the Sea for more great song selections.
And, you’ll want to listen to those tunes. So, check out our reviews of the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Bass Earbuds, the Most Comfortable Headphones, and the Best True Wireless Earbuds you can buy in 2023.
Final Thoughts on Songs about Storms
So, that concludes my short list of the 10 greatest songs talking about storms. As you can see, artists from across the musical spectrum have utilized the destructive power of storms to represent the tougher times we have to face in life.
As a result, they’ve given us a small library of amazingly powerful songs that resonate through time. Obviously, this list is a subjective one. So, if you feel I missed any vital tracks that should have made the cut, let us know in the comments.
Until next time, happy listening.