Black Rain (Soundgarden song)

"Black Rain" is a single by the American rock band Soundgarden, featuring lyrics written by frontman Chris Cornell and music written by bassist Ben Shepherd and guitarist Kim Thayil. The single debuted at number 24 and number 14 on the US Billboard Alternative Songs chart and the US Billboard Rock Songs chart respectively in August 2010. It is also Soundgarden's first and currently only song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #96. The song appears on the compilation album Telephantasm and on the music video game Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. It was the first single that Soundgarden had released since 1997.

Soundgarden black rain.png
Soundgarden black rain.png

Origin and recording

The song was mostly recorded during sessions for Badmotorfinger in 1991. In 2010, the band reworked the original recording with Down on the Upside co-producer Adam Kasper, who was working with the band on archival material. Cornell noted that when they listened to the original recording for the first time after almost two decades, he immediately remembered the problems he had with the song. Cornell explained that the original version of the song was much longer, and that he was unhappy with how it was arranged. He was also dissatisfied with the lyrics in the chorus. After so many years, however, Cornell noted that the issues seemed "easy to resolve". For the new mix, the music was re-arranged, the chorus vocals were re-written and re-recorded by Cornell, and new guitar overdubs were added. Kim Thayil explained to Rolling Stone, "[In] many ways, it's a new song."

Composition

The verse is notable for being in the time signature 9/8. In an interview with USA Today, Cornell noted that "Black Rain" captures "that super heavy version (of the band) we were finally realizing to its fullest potential about 1991."

Release and reception

"Black Rain" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Music video

The music video for the song, the first for Soundgarden in over a decade, premiered on AOL.com on September 20, 2010. It was directed by Brendon Small of Metalocalypse and is the first artist-driven music video to be based on the show. Virtual band Dethklok also make cameo appearances in the video.

Track listing

Radio promo
No. Title Length
1. "Black Rain (Radio edit)" 4:09
2. "Black Rain (Album version)" 5:24
7" vinyl single included with Super Deluxe versions of Telephantasm
No. Title Length
1. "Black Rain" 5:24
2. "Beyond the Wheel" (Live at Showbox, 2010) 5:38

Charts

Chart (2010) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA) 90
Canada (Canadian Hot 100) 44
UK Rock and Metal (Official Charts Company) 2
US Billboard Hot 100 96
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard) 14
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard) 10
US Alternative Songs (Billboard) 20

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