I’ve curated a colorful selection of the best songs about rainbows, each piece reflecting the hope, beauty, and wonder these natural phenomena inspire.
This article offers a musical spectrum that mirrors the magic and symbolism of rainbows in our lives.
Top songs about rainbows
- Judy Garland – “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”
- Elvis Presley – “Pocketful Of Rainbows”
- The Rolling Stones – “She’s A Rainbow”
- Finlay Quaye – “Sunday Shining”
- Louis Armstrong – “What A Wonderful World”
- Kesha – “Rainbow”
- Sia – “Rainbow”
- Miley Cyrus & Dolly Parton – “Rainbowland”
- Mariah Carey – “Rainbow (Interlude)”
- Kacey Musgraves – “Rainbow”
1. Judy Garland – “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”
With songs about rainbows, the obvious place to start is with this beautiful piece from “The Wizard Of Oz” that has been covered countless times by many artists.
Of course, we had to highlight Judy Garlands, but Eva Cassidy and Israel Kamakawiwo’ole AKA the voice of Hawaii also get honorable mentions for the way they brought dynamics to their renditions of this hopeful rainbow song.
2. Elvis Presley – “Pocketful Of Rainbows”
Featured in the 1960s movie G.I Blues, starring Elvis, this one has a similar theme to the well-known opener above.
The key thought is; that no matter how gray a day you are having, figuratively or literally, he has a pocket full of rainbows to make it a little less bleak. And all thanks to his “heart full of love”.
“No more heartaches
Now that I’ve found a love so true
Got a pocketful of rainbows
And an armful of you”
3. The Rolling Stones – “She’s A Rainbow”
This is one of those songs about rainbows that may escape you. It is an altogether very different tune than you might expect from Jagger and co. Definitely a little more wholesome and sugary than they typically wrote.
It has some beautiful musical moments, the strings and backing vocals make a real difference, to their usual vibe. The mellotron part in question was actually played by John Paul Jones, bassist of Led Zeppelin.
4. Finlay Quaye – “Sunday Shining”
Originally written and recorded by Bob Marley and the Wailers, this song with rainbows was a hit for little-known star Finlay Quaye.
He received a lot of flack at the time for his attempts at reggae, which is a shame because it was a beautiful version, with a great chilled vibe and we could have seen a lot more from the singer. But audience attitudes as well as his own detrimental decisions in life put an end to his short musical career.
“As the morning gathers a rainbow
I want you to know y’all
That I’m a rainbow with you”
5. Louis Armstrong – “What A Wonderful World”
A classic song that celebrates the smaller things in life, its beautiful intricacies, that can often go underlooked amid the chaos of life. Countless blessings are mentioned throughout with Louis’ deep emotive vocals paying homage to the trees, roses, happy friends, and smiling babies…
Among his list of treasures that make the world a wonderful place he poetically compares the colors of the rainbow to the contentment he sees on happy faces;
“The colors of the rainbow
So pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces
Of people going by
I see friends shaking hands
Saying, “How do you do?”
They’re really saying
“I love you””
6. Kesha – “Rainbow”
Kesha put a positive spin on the dark times she has let herself get consumed by, she acknowledges hows she has somehow lost her light within, stating she has “forgotten how to daydream” but not for much longer.
She realizes the importance of light and color in her life and is ready to embrace it with “kaleidoscopes” in her hairdo! She encourages others to do the same in the chorus!
“You’ll find a rainbow, rainbow, baby
Trust me, I know life is scary
But just put those colors on, girl
Come and play along with me tonight”
One of the last decades’ most empowering songs about rainbows.
7. Sia – “Rainbow”
This uplifting track was recorded by Sia to feature as the lead track for 2017 animated My Little Pony movie.
It again takes the juxtaposition of a sky full of colors on a rainy day and compares it to the slither of hope and positivity that can be found when you have emotionally deteriorated. An unsurprisingly common theme found in songs about rainbows.
“I can see a rainbow
In your tears as they fall on down
I can see your soul grow
Through the pain as they hit the ground
I can see a rainbow
In your tears as the sun comes out
As the sun comes out”
8. Miley Cyrus & Dolly Parton – “Rainbowland”
Cyrus originally wrote this song as a love song, the Rainbowland she described wanting to live in was a loving relationship. But her legendary godmother Dolly Parton had a different take on the song early on and the two agreed to make it a duet. The Rainbowlandscape changed into an idyllic world one safe and secure to live in.
A rainbow song about utopia if you will, the words are a little trite but it’s undoubtedly one of those catchy country songs about rainbows;
“Living in a Rainbowland
Where you and I go hand in hand
Oh, I’d be lying if I said this was fine
All the hurt and the hate going on here
We are rainbows, me and you
Every color, every hue
Let’s shine on through
Together, we can start living in a Rainbowland”
9. Mariah Carey – “Rainbow (Interlude)”
If you surf the web for songs with rainbow in the title you get a fair few hits, this one doesn’t have too much to offer. Usually, we expect a big song that highlights her phenomenal range and vocal control from diva Mariah Carey.
This track as the bracketed title suggests is more of a musical interlude, a break between the core concepts of the album. At the time she was pushing herself musically, the album demonstrates a very different side to the artist and most are personal and exploration.
The lyrics are short and again focus on the hopeful symbolism of rainbows.
10. Kacey Musgraves – “Rainbow”
Another tune with a message of hope, for anyone struggling, is this 2018 country rainbows song.
It rose to popularity within the LGBTQ community as they felt they could relate to the sense of darkness and symbolically the rainbow has been synonymous with the group too.
Musgraves sees herself as a strong ally and supporter of the community and wrote the song with them in mind although its lyrics center on a physical rainbow as well. She says the song is dedicated to the community but also to anyone who feels the weight of the world too heavily.
11. The Klaxons – “Gravity’s Rainbow”
This exhilarating electronic rock track shares its title with a 1973 historical satire-come-sci-fi novel by Tomas Pynchon.
the lyrics are ambiguous a little nonsensical in places and are certainly sci-fi inspired. But the general perception of many listeners is it is a song about transcending through love and sex with a sci-fi theme.
“Come with me, come with me, we’ll travel to infinity
I’ll always be there, oh, oh, my future love”
12. Pretty Lights – “Rainbows & Waterfalls”
Electronic dance producer Derek Vincent Smith treats us with this retro-inspired hit that samples many favorites from the late sixties and seventies.
The lyrics chosen and played with are from the Brothers Johnson’s 1973 hit – Strawberry Letter #23.
“Hello my love, I heard a kiss from you
Red magic satin playing near, too
All through the morning rain I gaze, the sun doesn’t shine
Rainbows and waterfalls run through my mind”
It’s another one of those songs about rainbows that uses the rainbow metaphorically for the extra beat in your step you have about you when you are in love. No matter what the day brings; you have a personal rainbow to get through the rain until the sun comes back to shine.
13. Busy P – “Rainbow Man”
There are many instrumental songs about rainbows, I guess because the imagery is strong enough to make a great title for any musical journey.
The French artist is Pedro Winter, better known as Busy Pdeliversthis electro-hip-house track that featured on his debut EP.
It demonstrates his Beastie Boys influences in parts but also surprises with his affection for metal music driving some of its head-banging elements.
No lyrics about rainbows as it’s an instrumental.
14. 16 Bit Lolitas – “Rainbows”
Another dance entry to consider for the appreciative is this well-crafted chilled progressive house piece released by 16 Bit Lolitas, a duo of producers from Holland.
Again there are no real lyrics, although it utilizes a couple of vocal samples to drive the track and take the listener on an arc throughout its seven minutes of euphoria.
It has the right mixture of ascending lifts and makes for a good listen in a post-festival wind-down frame of mind.
15. Battles – “Rainbow”
Onto an experimental rock offering from Battles…
It is a song that plays with a lot of effects and has cross-genre elements. For many, it could seem too chaotic as the pitch, tempo, and time signature changes build throughout. It made for an interesting addition to their album Mirrors which Pitchfork put in their top 100.
There is madness in the syncopated sections explored at the 3-minute mark. The song drops out musically from 4-minutes onwards cleaving a wall of noise and reconstructing into a heavier piece before the vocals finally make an entrance.
The song lyrics are short and a little meta, describing the song’s vocal effect exploration breaking the fourth wall, maybe?
“Once, one time, I was amazed
Natural delay and your wide voice
Got out of phase, I couldn’t explain
Why would some echo out race
A statement as vague as
Once, one time, I was amazed
I was amazed”
16. Big Freedia & Kesha – “Chasing Rainbows”
Onto something a little less fringe now and a second appearance from Kesha here as she teams up with diva Big Freedia for an unashamedly proud song.
Although this one like many of the artist’s releases is a rowdy track about dancing and having a great time on the surface, it also has a deeper message to spread about equality, with self-love and appreciation screaming throughout.
“They don’t wanna chase this rainbow, na, na, na, na
They don’t wanna chase this rainbow, na, na, na, na
‘Cause I am who I am
Happily, na, na, na, na, na
They don’t wanna chase this rainbow, na, na, na, an”
One of the most positive songs about rainbows going.
17. Shed Seven – “Chasing Rainbows”
This track with the same title as the one above presents a different case to the listener. It is brit-pop song about rainbows that was written on tour and like many songs written on the road is inspired by the nature of the journey.
“I could deny
But I’ll never realize
I’m just chasing rainbows
All the time”
At the time, the group was on their last leg and tired, ready to go home. You can read what Rick Witter had to say on the songwriting process here.
18. Mord Fustang – “Lick The Rainbow”
We are delving back into dance before we leave you with some less obscure entries in our list of songs about rainbows.
This one has some sharp instrument cuts and complex builds with heavy-hitting sample inserts to wrap your head around.
Mord Fustang, an Estonian producer, is actually considered one of the pioneers of glitchy, complextro music, a genre born in early 2010 as the result of its high-tempo speeds, chopping, textures, and bassline complexity. He is ranked among the best such as Deadmau5 and Kill The Noise.
19. Lesley Gore – “Sunshine, Lollipops, And Rainbows”
Back in the more relatable realms for this classic track with cutesy vocals laid down by bright-eyed Lesley Gore.
It is a sweet, summery tune that summarises teenage puppy love by comparing it to lives treats, of all shapes and sizes.
“Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows
Everything that’s wonderful is what I feel when we’re together
Brighter than a lucky penny
When you’re near the rain goes, disappears, dear
And I feel so fine
Just to know that you are mine”
It’s one of those songs about rainbows with lyrics that stick in the mind, it has been featured in countless movies and commercials and makes for a great sing a-along among the old and the young.
20. Kermit the Frog – “Rainbow Connection”
When trying to recall songs about rainbows Kermit surely springs to everyone’s minds, we left him until last intentionally to give this favorite pride of place in our list of best rainbow songs.
“Why are there so many songs about rainbows”
Written and recorded for The Muppet Movie released in 1979, it is another classic example of songs about rainbows that describe an urge for something better.
The lyricist was stumped during the writing and just knew he needed to make a connection with rainbows as the brief required, when discussing his need to find the right rainbow connection to fill in the gaps missing in his lyrics, someone suggested that the phrase itself would suffice.
And that was how this unlikely radio hit was cemented into one of the most well-known songs about rainbows of all time.
Rainbows make for a strong allegory, the way in which the bright vibrant colors break through a dismal sky at the hands of the sun bringing a beacon of hope is very relatable.
So we see a lot of songs with rainbows in the lyrics using the imagery as the perfect comparison for the release and respite from emotional turmoil. We also see it used in reference to the empowerment found when you are in love.
Powerful positive emotions overshadow the bad in life, just like a rainbow brings hope to a dark situation.
As with the real thing, songs about rainbows are generally positively framed and can uplift. With luck, listening to this list of rainbow music, you’ll walk away armed with all the colors you need to brighten your day with.