Creedence Clearwater Revival

Sep 15, 2022

I got stuck on a Creedence Clearwater Revival kick riding my bike today. I mean, CCR were before my time, and they were always THERE, you know? They still are; it seems like a CCR song is always in some commercial or some movie. I always liked them, but like a lot of music (Motown, late-period Beatles, etc.) I sort of got overexposed, it was played so much. Today was the first time in five or ten years I’ve had a deep dive with CCR’s music.

What a phenomenal catalog of songs. Whew, it’s even hard to start. Unlike a lot of groups that get a LOT of attention fifty years later, Creedence wasn’t a one-hit wonder. Jeez, they had hit after hit after hit, and even their minor hits are better than any of the “Americana rock” that came later (I won’t name names, but some of you know who I’m talking about). I mean the list of GREAT songs is staggering: “Green River,” “Lodi,” “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” “Fortunate Son,” “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Born on the Bayou,” “Lookin’ Out My Back Door”, “Down on the Corner,” “Run Through the Jungle,” “Travelin’ Band,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain.” That’s an impressive list of songs—and that’s not even touching on their covers of 1950s and 1960s hits, like “Suzy Q,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” and “I Put a Spell on You.”

I guess the reason I always liked them, as a rockabilly kid growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, is that they thrust a bunch of roots music, unashamedly, on the hippie-era record-buying public. They said to a bunch of young kids who probably thought that older music was square, “No, this old stuff is HIP. Check it out.” The fact that they had hits with those 1950s songs and their stripped-down roots Americana style still mystifies me a bit, but I’m glad they did (even if the post-CCR experience has been nothing but bad feelings and lawsuits for the band members).

And man, where in the HELL did John Fogerty’s voice come from? These were teenage kids from the San Francisco Bay Area, and all of a sudden you’ve got THAT voice? Kind of reminds me of Nick Curran, coming out of Maine, of all places, with that eighty-year old bluesman’s voice he had.

Listening to all these great CCR tunes also reminded me of something weird, or at least I think it’s weird: I’ve lived here in Los Angeles for over thirty years and never met John Fogerty. I know he lives around here near me. I know guys who have played in his band. He’s around. I’ve just never met the guy. If I did, I guess I’d have to be the ten millionth guy to come up, shake his hand, and thank him for all the great music that he gave the world.

These words, off the top of my head, will hopefully inspire some young kid who HASN’T been overexposed to CCR’s music as much as the Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers to check out their music, and let it creep into their psyche the way it has mine today. Incredible stuff.