"Mandolin Rain" as written by Bruce Hornsby and John Hornsby....
The song came and went
Like the times that we spent
Hiding out from the rain under the carnival tent
I laughed and she'd smile
It would last for awhile
You don't know what you got till you lose it all again

Listen to the mandolin rain
Listen to the music on the lake
Listen to my heart break every time she runs away
Listen to the banjo wind
A sad song drifting low
Listen to the tears roll
Down my face as she turns to go

A cool evening dance
Listening to the bluegrass band takes the chill
From the air till they play the last song
I'll do my time
Keeping you off my mind but there's moments
That I find, I'm not feeling so strong

Listen to the mandolin rain
Listen to the music on the lake
Listen to my heart break every time she runs away
Listen to the banjo wind
A sad song drifting low
Listen to the tears roll
Down my face as she turns to go

Running down by the lake shore
She did love the sound of a summer storm
It played on the lake like a mandolin
Now it's washing her away again

Listen to the mandolin rain
Listen to the music on the lake
Listen to my heart break every time she runs away
Listen to the banjo wind
A sad song drifting low
Listen to the tears roll
Down my face as she turns to go

The boat's steaming in
I watch the side wheel spin and I
Think about her when I hear that whistle blow
I can't change my mind
I knew all the time that she'd go
But that's a choice I made long ago

Listen to the mandolin rain
Listen to the music on the lake
Listen to my heart break every time she runs away
Listen to the banjo wind
A sad song drifting low
Listen to the tears roll
Down my face as she turns to go


Lyrics submitted by Ara Raven

"Mandolin Rain" as written by John Hornsby Bruce Hornsby

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Mandolin Rain song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentbeautiful song, can't believe no one has commented on it. This song means alot to me right now. As i just said goodbye to my ex g/f after a night of doing something we shouldn't have done, only to realize its not going to work out. So i put this song on, listened to it and realized how much of an idiot i am for doing this to myself.
    "Listen to my heart break
    every time she runs away
    Listen to the banjo wind
    a sad song drifting low
    Listen to the tears flow
    Down my face as she turns to go"
    LiveUrLifeon May 04, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"every time she runs away".....How much that simple line in this song always takes me back...I get lost in this song every time I hear that piano. Last time I checked my ipod I've played it 637 times...I could listen to it for hours....feel like my day flows to it..
    linsyesdad41601on May 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThey don't write them like this anymore.
    TheMonolithon October 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song soooooo much. I saw Hornsby play with the remaining members of the Dead (he actually played piano with them for a stint when Garcia was alive) and he was AMAZING! There were as many Hornsby fans in the crowd as Dead Heads. Also, I'm pretty sure that the lyric is always "Listen to the tears ROLL"(not "flow") the whole time, not just at the end of the song.
    peppergirlon August 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDamn good song. Top Ten of that year IMHO. I still listen to it. BTW, isn't the lyric:

    Listen to the banjo play
    A sad song drifting low
    Listen to the tears roll
    Down my face as she turns to go

    Also, it's obviously a pining for
    A) the good old days of youth
    B) the good old days of a relationship

    Whichever thought happens to cross your mind at the moment. And Hornsby's a great guy and talented piano man.

    Peace
    daedoloson December 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA lover of mine put this song on a cd for me because he would hear it at work and think of me. now its awkward hearing it at work because it forshadows what I did. Either way its a beautiful song, and I believe that I will name my 1st daughter Mandolin after this song.
    "I hear that whistle blow
    I can't change my mind
    I knew all the time she'd go
    But that's a choice I made long ago"
    BmySILVERspringon November 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBluegrass music, which Hornsby grew up with and has recorded, was developed by a mandolin player called Bill Monroe. The mandolin still plays an important part in traditional bluegrass music. In this song the narrator is listening to a bluegrass band and it takes him back to a time in his youth when he was in a relationship with a girl. Basically Hornsby paints a picture of a band playing in a tent by a lake i.e. very traditional folk america and couples it with pain we all feel about that first love which got away. I think that the nostalgic image of old America - bluegrass, steamboat - ties in brilliantly with nostalgia for young romance.
    I was very young when this song came out but it lodged in my subconsciousness. When i heard it again for the first time in my early 20's i actually cried, it triggered something in me. Cheers Bruce, one of the best musicians of our time.
    retroguy90on October 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song makes me think of a father who's saying goodbye to a daughter. The daughter's either deceased or moving away or getting married.
    "I can't change my mind
    I knew all the time she'd go
    But that's a choice I made long ago"

    This is the father's realization that he's always known this day was coming, but he still feels sad about it.
    rattler02on October 31, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is a great example of how Bruce chooses exactly the right chords to shadow the content of the lyrics.

    He is genius.

    TheMonolithon March 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is a great example of how Bruce chooses exactly the right chords to shadow the content of the lyrics.

    He is genius.

    TheMonolithon March 01, 2009   Link

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