Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bryan Ferry: A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall

This Bob Dylan song comes from Ferry's 1973 album of covers These Foolish Things. As his first solo single, it reached no. 10 in the UK charts the following year.

I have always assumed the hard rain was nuclear fallout, but in a 1963 interview (says Wikipedia) Dylan told Studs Terkel:
"No, it's not atomic rain, it's just a hard rain. It isn't the fallout rain. I mean some sort of end that's just gotta happen ... In the last verse, when I say, 'the pellets of poison are flooding the waters,' that means all the lies that people get told on their radios and in their newspapers."


david walsh said...

Er, not sure if Dylan actually knew the background to this song. It was first written and sung by US folk singer Malting Reynolds in 1961,and Reynolds,a lady of the left,a pal of Pete Seeger and a leading light of the US unitarian church, was explicit that it referred to fallout from nuclear tests coming back to earth via rainstorms

david walsh said...

Ah - silly me. For some reason, I confused it with "what have they done with the rain" my Malvina Reynolds. Mind, I feel that the original Hard Rain song - which parallels Malvina's work in time frame terms - was probably about the same issue, but that Dylan was trying to get away from the stereotype he was becoming.