Creedence Clearwater Revival: Sibling Rivalry And Controversy Makes Great Music

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Creedence Clearwater Revival, whose name is also often abridged down to Creedence or CCR, was an American rock band whose career peaked in the late 1960s through the mid-1970s. The band’s members were lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and primary songwriter John Fogerty, his brother Tom Fogerty on rhythm guitar, bass guitarist Stu Cook and their drummer, Doug Clifford. Their musical style encompassed the stylings of roots rock (which was a mixture of traditional American country blues and folk), swamp rock (a mix of New Orleans-style rhythm and blues, country and western, and classic French Louisiana musical influences), and blues rock genres. Even though they were originally from the San Fransisco Bay Area, their style could be categorized with a more Southern Rock twang. This being said, the lyrics of their songs contained various elements of Southern U.S. history such as bayous, catfish, famous southern rivers, and more. The band performed at the well legendary Woodstock Festival back in 1969.

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After almost half a decade of billboard hits, the group had a malicious breakup in the Winter of 1972. Tom Fogerty had left the band the year prior to this, and his brother John was iffy with the remaining members over matters of who would be in charge of business and artistic matters. In a nutshell, everything came down to various lawsuits between the individual now ex-members of the band. Fogerty’s ongoing disagreements with Saul Zaentz, who owned their record label Fantasy Records Saul Zaentz, became involved in even more extensive lawsuits. After all of this, John Fogerty instantly declined the offer to perform with the two other surviving former members at their 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Despite their choppy career as a band, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s music is still a standard of America’s radio stations. Today, Do You Remember celebrates the band’s existence by paying homage to and delving deep into the lyrics behind a few of their (and/or John Fogerty’s) best known songs.

“Bad Moon Rising”

According to an interview in Rolling Stone,  John Fogerty explains that the lyrics were actually instilled by a film entitled, The Devil And Daniel Webster, which is about a hurricane that wipes out most of a town. If you listen to the lyrics now,  “I feel the hurricane blowin’ will probably make some more sense. “I hope you’re quite prepared to die.” More than anything, Fogerty claims the song is about the “apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us.” Released April 1969, This song was the lead single from Green River, a double-sided RPM which’s B-side was “Lodi.” The single was released in April of 1969. “Bad Moon Rising” was used in two scifi films a decade later, in An American Werewolf In London (1981) as the main character watches the moon, eagerly wondering when he will become a werewolf! The song was also in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1982).

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Do you dig horror films? Read DYR’s Top Horror Movies of All Time!

 

“Lookin’ Out My Back Door”

This song was partially written for Josh Fogerty, who is John Fogerty’s son. At the time, Josh was only three years old. Fogerty laughs about it in the interview, “I knew he would love it if he heard me on the radio singing – doot doot doo, lookin’ out my back door.” In the song lyrics, Fogerty talks about a parade passing by him- which he says was inspired by To Think (That) I Saw It On Mulberry Street, a Dr. Suess book he read when he was little. The song is also featured in the iconic film The Big Lebowski (1998).

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Do you know a lot about Dr. Seuss and his work? Try our How Well Do You Know Dr. Seuss Quiz!

“Down On The Corner”

This song is made up story about a made up jug band, “Willy and the Poor Boys”, who could easily be classified as street musicians “playing for nickels, can’t be beat.” Here’s a fun fact- the name of the jug band would become the name of CCR’s fourth straight multi-platinum album.


“Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”

 

This song is John Fogerty’s take on the inherent abandoning of his brother Tom from Creedance, and it also covers the unbearable tension in the group at a time when they should have been living the dream. The line, “I want to know – have you ever seen the rain comin’ down on a sunny day?” refers to Tom stepping away while the band was at its commercial apex. Continuously, The other side of this single, “Hey Tonight,” is basically John making sure his band knows they will be alright despite Tom’s sudden resignation. According to John, the song’s backstory changed over the years for him. As he introduced the song at a 2012 show in Arizona, he stated: “This song was originally written about a very sad thing that was going on in my life. But I refuse to be sad now. Because now this song reminds me of my little girl, Kelsy, and every time I sing it, I think about Kelsy and rainbows.” Fogerty also reiterated that this particular song is is his all-time favorite song ever, even though it’s one he wrote himself. Just a tad bit narcissistic, no?


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Speaking of rain, check out our story on ‘Singing in the Rain’ What You Didn’t Know!

  • “Who’ll Stop The Rain”

This song is often perceived as a protest of the Vietnam War- however when he performed it in Arizona in 2012, Fogerty told the crowd that he “had been at Woodstock, watching the rain come down. I watched the festival goers dance in the rain, muddy, naked, cold, huddling together, and it just kept raining. So when I got back home after that weekend, he sat down and wrote ‘Who’ll Stop the Rain’, making it not exactly a Vietnam protest song, but moreover a peaceful rehash of his Woodstock experience.


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Do you know the meaning behind any other Creedence hits? Let us know in the comment section below!

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