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  • John Lennon said one of The Beatles’ songs was ahead of its time.
  • He said it wouldn’t be the same without marijuana.
  • The song became a hit single.
The Beatles’ John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr on a bench
The Beatles’ John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr | Bettmann / Contributor

John Lennon felt one of The Beatles’ songs was groundbreaking. In addition, he joked the “god of marijuana” helped him create the song. Interestingly, the song became a hit in the United States but not the United Kingdom.

John Lennon felt a Beatles song paved the way for songs by Jimi Hendrix and The Who

The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono features a 1980 interview with John and Yoko. In it, John was asked who wrote a number of Fab Four songs. At one point, he was asked about The Beatles’ “Rain.”

“That’s me again — with the first backwards tape on any record anywhere,” John replied. “Before [Jimi] Hendrix, before The Who, before any f*****. Maybe there was that record about ‘They’re coming to take me away, ha-ha’ maybe that came out before “Rain,” but it’s not the same thing.” The singer was referring to the B side of “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” by Napoleon XIV, which is just “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” played backwards. 

How marijuana inspired John Lennon to play a song backward

John discussed the origin of “Rain.” “I got home from the studio and I was stoned out of my mind on marijuana and, as I usually do, I listened to what I’d recorded that day,” he recalled “Somehow I got it on backwards and I sat there, transfixed, with the earphones on, with a big hash joint. I ran in the next day and said, ‘I know what to do with it, I know … Listen to this!’ 

“So I made them all play it backwards,” John added. “The fade is me actually singing backwards with the guitars going backwards. [Singing backwards] Sharethsm-nowthsmeaness … [Laughter] That one was the gift of God, of Jah, actually, the god of marijuana, right? So Jah gave me that one.” 


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How The Beatles’ ‘Rain’ performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

In the U.S., “Rain” became a minor hit. It peaked at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for seven weeks. The Beatles put the song on the compilation album Hey Jude, which reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200. It lasted on the chart for 36 weeks.

On the other hand, “Rain” was not as popular in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song did not chart there. Meanwhile, Hey Jude did not chart there either. The album was not initially released in the U.K.

The Beatles’ “Rain” became a minor hit and John felt the song was groundbreaking.