- John Lennon – lead vocal, rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Paul McCartney – backing vocal, bass
- George Harrison – backing vocal, lead guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine
Rain was a John Lennon single that came out on May 30, 1966 (in the US; June 10 in the UK). Paul claimed to have collaborated with John on the song, but Lennon did not acknowledge that. It was the b-side for McCartney's Paperback Writer. The Beatles recorded both songs on April 14, 1966 in the middle of the Revolver recording sessions, but neither Rain nor Paperback Writer was included in that album. Rain was made available on the Hey, Jude and Rarities compilations as well as on Past Masters. The song is widely regarded as the best of the Beatles' b-sides. Rolling Stone put it on the list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (at number 463). Ringo rated his work in Rain as his best recorded performance.
Rain was an audio track full of unusual sounds and sensations. Some of the vocals were mixed backwards or at different speeds from the recording. This single also debuted the "ATOC," a device rigged up at Abbey Road to permit the mix to be made at a louder volume without causing the stylus to jump. These were innovations that would be evident in several songs on Revolver, indicating a new period in the Beatles' creativity. Another innovation was the use of promotional films for new releases. Previously, pop music groups would go on concert tours to promote new releases. For Rain, the Beatles made three promo films instead, presaging the era of music videos and MTV. The documentary video Beatles Anthology shows clips edited from two of these promotional films.
Lennon's stimulus for writing Rain was a visit to Australia, where it rained very hard, and everyone seemed to be always complaining about it. The lyrics express a kind of separation from the busy world, not unlike the sensations created by an LSD trip. There is a clear implication that by focusing on one's inner space more insight will come than by fixing one's attention on the outside world.
Though technically complex, the structure and harmonic texture of Rain are very simple. John wrote the song in G major with a short intro of a drum roll and guitar chord. Verses are nine measures long, and the chorus is a double six. The whole song is written with just I-IV-V chords (G-C-D). The guitar solo comes after the second chorus, followed by a rest and then the famous backwards vocals.