Today’s music video is Who’ll Stop The Rain and this song is performed here by the American band Creedence Clearwater Revival.
This video was posted to You Tube by masterofacdcsuckaS
It hasn’t stopped raining where I live here in Rockhampton for the last three days. So far, in just those three days, we’ve had 238mm of rain, and that’s around nine and a half inches, making this the wettest July on record, and the old record was 184mm back in 1950. July is normally one of the driest Months of the year here, so this rain is not the normal thing for this time of year.
I thought I would do a ‘rain’ song in keeping with what is happening, and oddly, the first song I thought of was this one I have featured today, Who’ll Stop The Rain, by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
I say oddly here, because the song itself, although seemingly about the stuff which falls from the sky, is ostensibly, not really about rain at all, as the song was originally written probably as a thinly veiled protest song, although at the original time of its release, I didn’t know that.
I first heard the song in February of 1970, on the radio, as it made its way up the charts here in Australia. It peaked at Number Two, and all up, spent 19 weeks in the charts, as the band Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) were at the peak of their popularity. At the time, I thought the song was okay, but just that really, just another good song to listen to on the radio.
Around eight Months later, I was back at a training base undergoing further trade training for my job as an aircraft electrical tradesman in the Royal Australian Air Force, again joining with ten of my friends who were on my first trade training course. A group of six of us decided to go and do some fresh water fishing at Lake Burrinjuck, around two hours or so from where we were stationed at Wagga Wagga. This huge water catchment behind the large dam on the Murrumbidgee River was stocked with Trout, both Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout.
I use the term fishing loosely, as I was by no means an angler of any note at all, and I considered any fish I ever caught to have committed suicide, rather than attach any angling skills on my part to having captured the fish. Over the two days there however, I did catch three Rainbow Trout, averaging at around one and a half to two pounds each, so only just more than the legal size of a foot long. Of the six of us, I caught the least number of fish, but when combined with the fish the others caught, it was enough to keep us in food for the two days and nights we were there, and we actually took some fish back with us. One of the guys actually did catch a five pound Brown Trout, the only Brown Trout caught by our group that weekend, and that was a real fight to finally get the fish back to our small boat. It was an experience for me to actually catch a Trout, as any other fish I caught, and there weren’t all that many, you just reeled them in. With the Rainbow Trout though, you had to use your wits and play the fish, as it darted around in the water, and I found it to be actually exhilarating to have to watch what was happening to your line as the fish moved about and then play it while it was on the line.
We took some fish back to the Base with us, and that Sunday night we were gathered in the Rec Room as one of the guys cooked the fish in a fry pan, cleaned and whole and just done in some butter, and the beautiful pink meat just fell off the bones of the fish.
While we were cooking and eating, the guy who was doing the cooking was playing a CCR album, the newly released Cosmo’s Factory. We all knew he was a big fan of the band, as he had all their earlier albums, and would play their music constantly. As he was the cook, we sort of didn’t mind it. The music was familiar, as we had heard a couple of the songs already, as hits on the radio.
While I was waiting for my Trout to be cooked, the song I have featured today came on, Who’ll Stop The Rain, I don’t know why I was listening so intently, but I noticed the lyrics, and it puzzled me, because it sounded to me like it really wasn’t about ….. the rain, at all, but a sort of a protest against something or other.
When the song finished, I asked Gary (our cook, and owner of the record) if I could play the song again. He sort of smiled and said, ‘I bet you finally caught onto what the lyrics are really about.’
I played it again, and he explained to me that it was basically just thinly veiled criticism of the way that no matter how good men through the ages try to solve problems, they never really succeed, and he also mentioned it might be thinly veiled commentary (with the mention of the five year plan) about the war in Vietnam, which was still ongoing at the time of this song, and that no matter how hard they try, it doesn’t seem to have much effect, in other words, who is there that CAN actually stop the rain, in reality, a metaphor really.
It surprised me that I had picked up on something like this from what I basically thought to be a fairly innocuous enough song, ostensibly about the weather, but in actual fact, nothing to do with that at all, as the lyrics of the song show.
Long as I remember the rain been comin’ down
Clouds of mystery pourin’ confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages tryin’ to find the sun.
And I wonder still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.
I went down Virginia seekin’ shelter from the storm
Caught up in the fable I watched the tower grow
Five year plans and new deals wrapped in golden chains.
And I wonder still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.
Heard the singers playin’, how we cheered for more.
The crowd had rushed together tryin’ to keep warm.
Still the rain kept pourin’, fallin’ on my ears
And I wonder, still I wonder who’ll stop the rain.
At around this same time, I was just starting to realise, that the music I had grown up with all these years now was more than just music and lyrics. It was a way for songwriters to express themselves and the ways that they thought with respect to more than just the words and the music.
When this one little thing about this one song was added to all the other things I was gradually coming to notice about music, it gave me a much broader perspective, as my tastes in music expanded in newer directions, and music that I once passed off now became interesting for entirely different reasons.