Written by John “about people moaning about the weather all the time” as he was becoming more in tune with his role as a social leader – as is evidenced by the lines “I can show you” and “Can you hear me” – Rain was the first Beatles single to feature a backward tracked vocal (the final verse, which is the first verse backward). The instrumental track was recorded fast and slowed down for the final master mix. The master came from take seven (of eight takes).
The stereo mix
Rain was mixed for mono on April 16, 1966 following an uninterrupted, 11-hour overdub and mix down session. Singles were not issued in stereo at that time and the song did not appear on any album, so no stereo mix was made until December 2, 1969, when the song was ready to be included on the US compilation LP Hey Jude.
“After we’d done the session on that particular song—it ended at about four or five in the morning—I went home with a tape to see what else you could do with it. And I was sort of very tired, you know, not knowing what I was doing, and I just happened to put it on my own tape recorder and it came out backwards. And I liked it better. So that’s how it happened.” – John
“I got home from the studio and I was stoned out of my mind on marijuana and, as I usually do, I listened to what I’d recorded that day. Somehow I got it on backwards and I sat there, transfixed, with the earphones on, with a big hash joint. I ran in the next day and said, ‘I know what to do with it, I know… Listen to this!’ So I made them all play it backwards. The fade is me actually singing backwards with the guitars going backwards. [Singing backwards] Sharethsmnowthsmeaness… [Laughter] That one was the gift of God, of Jah, actually, the god of marijuana, right? So Jah gave me that one.” – John
“I was always playing around with tapes and I thought it might be fun to do something extra with John’s voice. So I lifted a bit of his main vocal off the four-track, put it on another spool, turned it around and then slid it back and forth until it fitted. John was out at the time but when he came back he was amazed.” – George Martin
“From that point on, almost every overdub we did on Revolver had to be tried backwards as well as forwards.” – Geoff Emerick
“‘Rain’ blows me away. It’s out of left field. I know me and I know my playing, and then there’s ‘Rain.'” – Ringo, assessing his drumming performance in “Rain”
- April 14, 1966 (8 takes, instrumental track)
- April 16, 1966 (vocals)
- John Lennon – lead and backing vocals, rhythm guitar
- Paul McCartney – backing vocals, bass
- George Harrison – backing vocals, lead guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine