Have you Ever Seen The Rain by John Fogerty

What is the meaning of the song “Have you ever seen the Rain” By Jon Fogerty?

In the early 1970’s during the height of the Vietnam War, Creedence Clearwater Revival released a song called “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” written by their front man John C. Fogerty. Like many of their other songs, this song is directly dealing with the conflict in Vietnam and what the soldiers over there were exposed to. This song directly refers to the use of dioxin, better known as “Agent Orange,” in the jungles of Vietnam.

“Someone told me long ago there’s a calm before the storm, I know; it’s been comin’ for some time. When it’s over, so they say, it’ll rain on a sunny day, I know; shinin’ down like water.” The calm before the storm is a popular saying that things are always quiet and peaceful before it all breaks loose. “It’ll rain on a sunny day, I know; shinin’ down like water” is directly referring to the use of dioxin. Dioxin was used as a way to clear the jungle of its heavy vegetation. The enemy would hide in that vegetation to ensnare the soldiers. Dioxin would be sprayed down from the sky and it would look like rain, even on a sunny day. Since it was clear liquid it would look like water.

The chorus asks the listeners “Have you ever seen the rain? I want to know, have you ever seen the rain comin’ down on a sunny day.” For years the companies that made the chemicals used as Agent Orange, so called because they would come in canisters with an orange ring, denied that the chemicals used in the war had an adverse effect on the people that came into contact with it.

The song makes the listener stop and think, have you seen this happen. Of course, those in Vietnam saw it happen, for many of them they were caught in these “rain showers.”

Fogerty wanted to draw attention to the fact that the weapons we were using to help us beat the enemy were in fact being used on our own people inadvertently. “Yesterday, and days before, Sun is cold and rain is hard, I know; been that way for all my time. ‘Til forever, on it goes through the circle, fast and slow, I know; it can’t stop, I wonder.” The soldiers in Vietnam were not exposed to Agent Orange just once in their tour of duty, they were exposed over and over and over again.

Like many of Fogerty’s songs this song was in direct protest to the use of chemical warfare. The effects of Agent Orange were beginning to be seen by the 1970’s. The constant denial that the rain of chemicals on our soldiers made him wonder how many people saw it happening and tried to call attention to the issue.