Storms and the intense weather they bring have been the topics of poetry and song for years. It is very likely songs about storms are as old as songs themselves. Storms have a deep symbolic meaning and have inspired some of the best songs out there.
1. “Storms” – Fleetwood Mac
This is a lesser-known song in Fleetwood Mac’s catalog. “Storms” was originally on the album Tusk. It has melancholy lyrics calling herself a storm rather than a calm sea. Like many rock stars, Stevie Nicks had a tempestuous career. If you are leaving a relationship because you aren’t right for each other, this may be a great choice to listen to.
2. “Stormy Monday Blues” – T-Bone Walker
“Stormy Monday Blues” was originally written in 1947 and has since become a blues staple. Many artists have covered this song over the decades including legends like The Allman Brothers Band and Eric Clapton. Since it is such a staple of the genre you can find many covers which may even be in a new genre. We recommend the original by T-Bone Walker version if you have never heard it. His voice brings across the gloom of a stormy day and the sadness of knowing that the next day won’t be different. If you are not big on the blues, this is still a great song to listen to.
3. “Set Fire to the Rain” – Adele
“Set Fire to the Rain” is from Adele’s second studio album 21. This is a song about the end of a relationship and finally being free. Adele’s gorgeous voice gives this song the feeling of a building storm. The lyrics about throwing the relationship into the flames are perfect for anyone trying to get over an ex.
4. “Riders on the Storm” – The Doors
The Doors are a legendary band for a reason. “Riders on the Storm” is the very last song Jim Morrison ever recorded before his unfortunate death in Paris at the age of 27. His death is still a mystery but may have been an overdose. Morrison’s moody voice and the backing instruments bring to mind the dark clouds rolling in before the rain begins. While this song is familiar to many, it is always worth another listen.
5. “Umbrella” – Rihanna
“Umbrella” is likely familiar to you already since it topped the charts for 10 weeks in 2011. This song is about friendship and a longstanding bond with a lover. The umbrella is the shelter from a harsh world and a promise of support no matter what trouble life throws your way.
6. “Gimme Shelter” – The Rolling Stones
“Gimme Shelter” is the first track on the great Let it Bleed album. If you haven’t had a listen, this is a great start to the album. The lyrics use a storm as a metaphor for a troubled life. The theme carries through the lyrics. It makes a great listen if you are facing hard times.
7. “Rock You Like a Hurricane” – The Scorpions
This is a classic of the 80s. It was released on the band’s ninth studio album Love at First Sting. This is an in-your-face song that characterizes the hard rock of the decade. It is considered a classic of arena rock, glam metal, and hard rock of the 80s. This song was one of the songs that caused Tipper Gore to co-found the Parents Music Resource Center. This group pushed for albums to be labeled if they featured explicit lyrics. If you want to make a fun 80s playlist, do not leave this song off. You can never go wrong with some 80s rock.
8. “Ridin’ the Storm Out” – REO Speedwagon
“Ridin’ the Storm Out” was released on the album of the same title in 1973. It is the last song Kevin Cronin recorded with the band before he was replaced by Mike Murphy. The song is about the time the band was stuck at a bar during a blizzard in Boulder, Colorado. This classic of the arena rock era is a perfect song for anytime life gets difficult. The lyrics remind you that no matter how bad the rain and wind are, they will pass. Life gets better so long as you can ride out the storm.
9. “Thunderstruck” – AC/DC
“Thunderstruck” is another powerful song from the legendary AC/DC. It is the lead single from the 1990 album The Razors Edge. This is one of the band’s biggest hits. It is one of only three songs made after the Back in Black album that is still part of the band’s regular setlist for their live shows. If you want a song that will boost your confidence, keep this on your playlist. Anyone who loves hard rock will appreciate the driving lyrics and powerful feeling behind the lyrics.
10. “After the Storm” – Mumford & Sons
Mumford & Sons is a British folk-rock band known for powerful voices backed by a string accompaniment. This particular tune is an emotional one with Marcus Mumford’s voice as the star. He sings of the aftermath of a storm with his emotive voice. The song is a great one about love and longing. There are many interpretations of this song, but you should take a listen and decide for yourself. This is a great song to kick back and take in without any distractions.
11. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Have You Ever Seen the Rain” was released on the band’s 1970 album Pendulum. Many believe that the song is a metaphor for the Vietnam War. The “rain” is supposed to symbolize the large bombing campaigns that drew many protests. Others say the song is about how the protests that characterized the late 1960s dropped off in the 70s. However, according to John Fogerty who wrote the song, it is instead about his brother Tom’s imminent departure from the band and the rising tensions that would break up the band after their next album.
12. “Hurricane” – Bob Dylan
“Hurricane” is a protest song at its core. This song tells the story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. He was a boxer poised to become a champion, but a false murder charge sent him to prison. The song is a powerful protest against racial inequality and injustice. Sadly, this song is still relevant to this day.
13. “Electrical Storm” – U2
“Electrical Storm” is one of two new tracks that were recorded for U2’s second greatest hits album. The song is about a couple who is in conflict with one another. The rising tension is like the titular electrical storm. This is another song that is great for anyone who is struggling in a stormy relationship.
14. “Storm Front” – Billy Joel
“Storm Front” debuted on the album of the same title in 1989. The lyrics detail a sailor safe in harbor longing for the open sea despite the storm warnings. It is both a metaphor for troubled relationships and massive changes in one’s life. At the time of writing, Billy Joel was dealing with a fracturing marriage and massive changes in his band and career. The moody lyrics are very relatable for anyone facing a storm on the horizon of their life.
15. “Wild is the Wind” – Nina Simone
“Wild is the Wind” was written in 1957 by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington for the film of the same name. It has been covered many times. The most famous cover is by Dabid Bowie as a tribute to Nina Simone. The original song is a pop tune, but Simone changed the song to a song of hopeless love. With sparse instrumentation and stretching the vocal portions give the song a whole new feeling. We advise listening to Simone’s version if you have only heard Bowie’s version.
16. “Here Comes the Rain Again” – Eurythmics
“Here Comes the Rain Again” is a classic of the new wave genre released in 1984. The song is a moody one that gives the feeling of a dark and gloomy day right before the storm begins. It is a sad song that talks about a downward spiral into depression but still finding some beauty even in the darkest times. This song is a great listen if you are dealing with a hard time in life.
17. “Stormy Weather” – The Pixies
“Stormy Weather” by the Pixies is lyrically simple. Most of the lyrics are repeated. The mood of the song is entirely driven by the instruments and the vocal performance. A husky voice and dark instruments give the feel of a storm blowing in. If you want some great mood music, this classic from the album Bossanova is a great choice.
18. “Flood” – Jars of Clay
This is one of the first mainstream crossover hits by a Christian band. It was released in 1995 on the self-titled debut album Jars of Clay. it was unusual for the time since it was being played both on Christian music stations and on alternative rock stations. While there have been other crossover hits since this song broke out for a reason. The lyrics are based on the story of the great flood from the Bible. However, it isn’t quite as explicit about being religious as the genre typically is. Give it a chance and you may like it more than you expect.
19. “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night” – Five Iron Frenzy
Five Iron Frenzy is a ska-punk band from the 90s. This particular song is about the titular dark and stormy night. The moody lyrics detail a stormy night and sleeping through it to awaken in the light of dawn breaking through the clouds. The heavy storm mirrors heavy emotions, making it a good listen for those gloomy nights when your emotions reflect the weather outside.
20. “Shelter from the Storm” – Bob Dylan
This folk classic is all about seeking shelter from a stormy relationship. It was first released in 1975 on the album Blood on the Tracks. The lyrics talk about lost love after being offered shelter from the storm. The mood of the music reflects the tempestuous relationship at its heart. If you are also dealing with a troubled relationship, this song may be a comfort when you need some understanding.
21. “I of the Storm” – Of Monsters and Men
Of Monsters and Men is not overly familiar to many people, but they have a unique style that draws in many fans. This particular song uses a storm as a metaphor like many others on this list. The piano and drums drive a moody song that is all about the desire for acceptance and being trapped at the center of your own emotional storm.
22. “Stormy Weather” – Etta James
This is another old classic song that has been covered by many artists. The song was written in 1934 and has been recorded by artists such as Sinatra. We love this take from Etta James and her amazing voice. You can’t go wrong with most artists, however. The song itself is just that good.
23. “Storms in Africa” I and II – Enya
If you lived through the 90s and early 2000s, you likely remember Enya’s unique voice. This entry is technically two songs in two different languages about the same subject matter. Like the title says, they are evocative songs about storms washing over plains in Africa. Part I is in Irish, while Part II is in English.
There are so many genres that have songs about storms, and we’re certain that over the years there will be many more great stormy songs to come.
As the Head Editor at Music Grotto, Liam edits content produced from over 30 professional music/media journalists and contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.