A Song Of Fire and Rain
Inspired by a recent vote on the Daily Duranie website, JR Kiss investigated the story behind Hold Back The Rain...
One of the things I’ve always liked about Duran, and perhaps especially early Duran, is the lyrics. Save a Prayer for example is so much classier for a ‘boy meets girl’ song than ‘She loves me yeah, yeah yeah’ or (don’t get me started) ‘wake me up before you go go’. On the other hand I’ve never claimed to actually understand the lyrics. ‘Out on the tar plains, the glides are moving’ anyone? And no dictionary I’ve ever come across includes the word ‘sanhedralite’. Which brings me to ‘Hold Back the Rain.
So, John explains that Simon wrote the lyrics and slipped them under his hotel door and it was the first time anyone had suggested to him that he ought to slow down on the whole sex, drugs and rock and roll thing. Really? OK. Well I guess it’s possible. Now, I hadn’t picked up on that the first time that I heard the song although I guessed it wasn’t just about the weather. This requires perhaps further analysis.
The first verse then:
We're miles away from nowhere And the wind doesn't have a name So call it what you want to call it Still blows down the lane
Drugs don’t immediately spring to mind here. Or is ‘blow’ a sneaky reference in an even more subtle way than Lucy in the Sky? Equally, ‘lane’ might be similar to a line (as in a line of cocaine, right?). But it’s difficult to imagine JT reading this late at night and saying ‘Wow, Simon’s right. I should quit the drugs’.
Verse 2 maybe will help:
People tell me, I haven't changed at all But I don't feel the same And I bet you've had that feeling too You can't laugh all the time
No, not really as much help as I’d hoped. Still a bit mystified to be honest. So to recap, we’re miles away from nowhere, where it’s quite windy and there could be some drugs. I feel like I’ve changed even if you don’t and there’s nothing to laugh about. It’s still not screaming ‘stop the drugs’ at me.
Certainly the chorus will provide the missing link:
And if the fires burn out there's only fire to blame (Hold back the rain) No time for worry 'cause we're on the roam again (Hold back the rain) The clouds all scatter and we ride the outside lane (Hold back the rain) Not on your own so help me please, hold back the rain
So, fire, on the roam, ride the outside lane. Maybe that’s it? Hmm. Or maybe I should be paying more attention to the title. A quick online search reveals that rain is a symbol of life, ‘nourishment for the earth’ or alternatively ‘heaven’s tears’. Which we would want to hold back because…?
I want to point out that I like the song and I’m a big fan of John. Some of his blogs on the DD site are really good. His book was very readable (but a bit too ‘12 steps’ for my taste) and obviously his sensitivity to poetry and Simon’s lyrics are far superior to mine, but, try as I might, I’m struggling to see what he saw in that hotel room.
Admittedly there is one verse which might come closer to the answer so I’ll leave you with verse 4:
Okay go off and wander I'm guilty just the same Sometimes you're needed badly So please come back again
now read more about Hold Back The Rain and the interpretation of the lyrics at: