A standout tune from his 2013 album “To All the Girls…,” Willie and Paula Nelson’s cover of “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” is on top of our best classic recommendations.
As expected from a family of gifted musicians, this father and daughter smooth duet have done more justice to this 1970s hit by the Creedence Clearwater Revival band. Everything was well put from Willie’s distinct vocals, daughter Paula’s raspy but velvety voice, and in case you missed it, the slick guitar notes from Nelson’s favorite musical buddy, “Trigger!”
Released as a single on July 24, 2019, the fame of Willie and Paula Nelson’s cover of CCR’s tune rose to greater heights on iTunes. This was after HBO’s tv series “Big Little Lies‘ utilize the tune in its second season finale. The Nelsons’ “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” entered the top 10 and finally peaked at number 4. It closely followed “Old Town Road,” “The Git Up,” and “God’s Country.”
Willie and Paula Nelson’s Cover
There were over a hundred versions made for “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” since Creedence Clearwater Revival, but none came close to their success until Willie and Paula Nelson. While the original peaked at 1 in Canada and 8th on US’ Billboard Hot 100, the remake was placed 3rd on the Country Digital Song Sales and 36th on the Hot Country Songs chart.
Aside from the tunes’ success on the charts, the Redheaded Stranger singer has once again demonstrated how he could make any song his own. Owing to the superb duet, Willie Nelson ranked at number 60 on Billboard Hot 100 Artists while his daughter Paula was at number 49 on the Emerging Artists chart.
“Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”
Songwriter John Fogerty has a live version of this song recorded in his The Long Road Home – In Concert DVD. This was released on September 15, 2005.
For years, people speculated on Fogerty’s inspiration for the song he penned for CCR. Some thought it was about the Vietnam war while the literalists say it’s a reference to a sunshower. Fogerty, however, cleared all assumptions during interviews. He said that it was actually more of a metaphorical description of the CCR members’ mental and emotional state. Contrary to what most people must have thought, all the CCR’s fame and fortune did not fill their unhappiness. Tensions piled up leading to the band’s split a year after the release of their 1971 album, Pendulum.
“Have you ever seen the rain, coming down on a sunny day?”
Chart Performance and Adaptations
While the Creedence Clearwater Revival disbanded, their hit “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” increasingly rose in popularity. Since its release, it was on the top 10 songs of 11 countries and was certified Platinum in Italy, Silver in the UK, and 2x Platinum in the US.
“Have You Ever Seen the Rain” was also used to voice out either political sentiments or the emergence of idealistic spirit. This was impressively encapsulated by the 1985 California band, the Minutemen whose music was mostly about the working class. Their version was included in their album Three-Way Tie (For Last). It was also meant as their tribute to the roots-rock group, Creedence Clearwater Revival.
But besides its rise on charts and immense sales, the song’s global fame persisted. Other international singers adapted John Fogerty’s song and recorded their versions in other languages including Bosnian, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.
Above all these covers though, two of the most remarkable, other than that of Willie and Paula Nelson, were Bonnie Tyler for her album, Faster Than the Speed of Night and Rod Stewart for his Still the Same… Great Rock Classics of Our Time.