Creedence Clearwater Revival

Within four short years Creedence Clearwater Revival had accumulated more than 13 Top 10 hits. But, that was only the beginning of the timeless legend that is CCR!

They’ve became one of the best examples of classic American rock! They’re one of the greatest rock bands to come out of the 60’s and are indeed rock legends!

John Fogerty, Doug Clifford and Stu Cook formed the Blue Velvets in 1959 while still in junior high in El Cerrito, California. They played cover songs at the local dances. They also backed up John’s older brother as Tom Fogerty and the Blue Velvets on albums and at live gigs. John had seen Fantasy Records on TV and contacted them and in 1964 the band had a signed with the label.

Without the bands knowledge, Max Weiss who co-owned Fantasy Records changed the bands name to the Golliwogs before their first release. It was an attempt to cash in on the popularity British bands had was seeing at the time. None of the seven singles the Golliwogs recorded saw success.

The band went through several changes, Cook went from piano to bass guitar and Tom became their rhythm guitarist. John had began to write most of the band’s material and had taken over Tom’s spot as lead vocalist!

In 1967, Saul Zaentz bought Fantasy Records giving the band a chance to record their first album – on one condition – that they change their name! Since they’d hated being called the Golliwogs anyway, they quickly agreed and Creedence Clearwater Revival was born! Tom had a friend named Creedence, the clear water came from a commercial for Olympia beer and revival referred to the band’s new beginning and commitment!

“Creedence Clearwater Revival” debuted in 1968, the album earned the band national attention. The single “Suzie Q” received a lot of radio time and topped the charts at number 11. It was the only hit song that CCR had that wasn’t written by John Fogerty!

Other singles from the album included “Screamin’ Jay Hawkins” and “I Put a Spell On You”. After eight long years, Creedence Clearwater Revival was a huge success almost overnight!

Their second album “Bayou Country” came out in January of 1969. “Proud Mary” and “Born On the Bayou” hit number 2 on the national Billboard chart. A few weeks later “Bad Moon Rising” also went to number 2 in the charts!

“Proud Mary” has became one of the bands most popular songs. It has been recorded over 100 times by various artists and once again became a hit single when Ike and Tina Turner redid the song.

By their third album, “Green River” the band not only had another number 2 single with the albums title track, they had their first gold album!

Although, Creedence Clearwater Revival were part of the legendary Woodstock, their set was omitted from the original soundtrack. John felt that their performance wasn’t up to standard and didn’t want it released.

The fourth album “Willy and the Poor Boys” released in 1969, continued their winning streak as a top selling album! “Down on the Corner”, “Midnight Special” and “Fortunate Son” are only a few of the classic hits it included.

The new year brought legal trouble for the group. “Travellin’ Band” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain” was released on a 45. Little Richard’s publisher filed suit when “Travellin’ Man” bore a close resemblance to “Good Golly Miss Molly”! The case was settled out of court!

By February of 1970 CCR had earned the honor of being the cover story of the infamous Rolling Stone magazine. However, the article interview excluded all the members except John!

To support their first European tour scheduled early in the year, another 45 was released. Written, recorded and released within just a few short days, “Run Through the Jungle” and “Up Around the Bend” was a major success worldwide.

In June they returned to San Francisco to record “Cosmo’s Factory”. The album included their Top 10 hits as well as a few new songs like “Ramble Tamble” which described American life as “police on the corner, garbage on the sidewalk and actors in the White House”!

It also included “Lookin’ Out My Back Door”, “Long As I Can See the Light” and eleven minute long “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”! “Cosmo’s” is considered by many to be the very best album CCR ever released! It quickly went to the number 1 spot on the pop charts and became their best selling album.

Creedence Clearwater Revival had managed to release four top ten albums in just 18 months! And, they had number one singles in countries all around the world.

Like with most bands, the constant touring schedules and long recording sessions had began to wear the band down. Stress and tensions between the members had started to show during the recording of “Cosmo’s”.

But, the band’s problems weren’t just caused by physical exhaustion. John had taken complete control of both the music and the band’s business matters.

The remaining members felt that the band’s music and business should be a group decision. John disagreed, feeling that he knew what was best for the band and that a democratic stand point would damage their success.

At a gig in Nebraska, John made the lone decision that the band would no longer perform encores at anymore of their live shows. And, many of the business decision John would make would come back to haunt him in later years with a lot of legal problems.

CCR still continued to produce top sellers with their release of “Pendulum” in December of 1970. The album birthed yet another Top 10 hit with “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”.

Their great success still couldn’t mend the tension between John and Tom Fogerty. Tom left the band for a solo career in February of 1971, “Pendulum” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” were still on the charts!

Tom’s departure resulted in even more stress between the remaining members. John announced that now the band would operate with a democratic process! And, informed Clifford and Cook that they would all now write and sing their own material! And, that he would only play rhythm guitar for inclusion into their songs!

For all the years they’d supported John’s music, this was literally a slap in the face! Although, Clifford and Cook both had wanted a little more say-so in the band’s affairs they were against these arrangements. John’s answer was that if they refused to agree to his terms he’d quit the band!

With the new ‘resisted’ agreement in place, CCR released another Top 10 single in July of 71′. “Sweet Hitch-Hiker” was backed with Cook’s “Door to Door” and they toured both Europe and the U.S. during the summer and fall. The loss of drive and motivation was seen when the band didn’t release an album that year.

Finally, in April of 1972 Creedence Clearwater Revival released their final album! “Mardi Gras” produced low sales and very poor reviews with the media and it only made it to number 12 on the charts.

The band did tour during the first part of the year, but it would be their final tour! It was reported that at their final show in Denver, Colorado on May 22, 1972, the audience threw coins at them!

In an interview, John Fogerty once said, “In 1968, I always used to say that I wanted to make records they would still play on the radio in ten years”!

On October 16, 1972, the band and Fantasy Records officially announced that there was no longer a Creedence Clearwater Revival!

Written by Connie Corder Copyright 2010, all rights reserved and may not be republished in any form.

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