Creedence Clearwater Revival



Creedence Clearwater Revival commonly referred to by its initials CCR or simply Creedence, was an American rock band, fronted by John Fogerty. Though hailing from the Bay Area of California, the group was influenced by the swamp blues genre that came out of south Louisiana in the late 1950s and early to mid-1960s. CCR cultivated a Louisiana connection through its choice of song and album titles, such as "Born on the Bayou," Bayou Country, and Mardi Gras, as well as through the southern "good ol' boy" image projected by its members. Several of their songs also protest against the Vietnam War, such as "Who'll Stop the Rain", "Run Through the Jungle", "Wrote a Song for Everyone" and most notably "Fortunate Son".

Members:

* John Fogerty – vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano
* Tom Fogerty – guitar, vocals, piano
* Stu Cook – bass, vocals
* Doug Clifford – drums, percussion, vocals

The band started out as The Blue Velvets, formed by John Fogerty, Doug Clifford and Stu Cook in El Cerrito, California in the late 1950s. They were an instrumental trio, however in 1959 they began backing Tom Fogerty, John's older brother, on fraternity house gigs and in the recording studio. In the middle of 1964, the band recorded two songs for Fantasy Records, a local label based in San Francisco at that time. They were attracted to the label because Fantasy had released a national hit by Vince Guaraldi, "Cast Your Fate To The Wind". Max Weiss, Fantasy's co-owner initially changed the group's name to The Visions, but when the record was released, in November 1964, Weiss re-named the group The Golliwogs, an apparent reference to a once-popular minstrel doll called a Golliwogg. Seven singles were released in the San Francisco Bay area but none received national attention. (In 1975 Fantasy released Pre-Creedence, a compilation album of recordings by The Golliwogs).

The year 1967 was a watershed for the band. First, the group almost broke up when the draft board came for both John Fogerty and Doug Clifford. However, Fogerty was able to enlist in the Army Reserve instead of the regular Army and Clifford did a short tenure in the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Both received medical discharges. The second major event of the year was when Saul Zaentz purchased Fantasy Records from Weiss. He offered the band the chance to record a full album, but only if they changed the group's name. Never having particularly liked the Golliwogs, the foursome readily agreed, and Zaentz enthusiastically agreed to their suggestion: Creedence Clearwater Revival. The band took its name from Credence Nuball, a friend of Tom Fogerty; "clearwater", a reference to the band's concern for ecology (from a beer commercial of the day); and "revival", which spoke to the four members' re-commitment to their band.

Determined to make this opportunity a success, the band devoted themselves exclusively to its music, the four members quitting their day jobs and rehearsing and playing area clubs incessantly. By the time they went into the studio to record their self-titled debut LP, they were an incredibly tight and disciplined musical unit.

The rootsy Creedence Clearwater Revival was somewhat out of step with the Top 40 music scene of 1968, which was then in the midst of Psychedelia and Bubblegum Pop. But the album struck a responsive note with the emerging underground pop culture press, which touted CCR as artists worth paying attention to. More importantly, AM radio programmers around the United States took note when a song from the LP, Suzie Q, started receiving favorable airplay in both the band's native Bay Area, as well as in Chicago on WLS radio, where listeners used to the blues of Chess Records and the R&B of Vee-Jay Records doubtless heard similarities with CCR. "Suzie Q" went on to be the first single by the band to crack the Top 40, falling just shy of the Top 10 at #11. It was also Creedence's only Top 40 hit that was not written by John Fogerty. After some eight years of making music together, the group was an "overnight success".

While undertaking a steady string of live dates around the country to capitalize on their breakthrough, CCR also was hard at work on their follow-up LP, Bayou Country. Released in January 1969, the record inaugurated a stream of hit albums and singles which continued right up until the band's demise several years later. Proud Mary was culled from the LP and released as a single, and it went to Number 2 on the national Billboard chart. It would also prove to be the group's most-covered song, with some 100 cover versions by other artists to date, including a hit version by Ike and Tina Turner.

CCR's fourth single, Bad Moon Rising, peaked at #2 on the charts. The song was included on their next album, Green River, released in August 1969. The album quickly went gold and the single, Green River reached #2 on the Billboard charts. The B-Side of the Green River single, Commotion, also charted peaking at #30. Another song on the album, Lodi, became a popular staple on FM radio.[citation needed]

The band continued to tour heavily, including a performance at the Woodstock Music and Art Festival. Their set was not included in the film, nor its soundtracks, because Fogerty felt their performance was sub-par. Several CCR tracks from the event were included in the commemorative box set years later. The band complained that they had to take the stage at 3:00 in the morning because the previous artist, the Grateful Dead, jammed far past their scheduled set. By the time CCR began playing, many in the audience had gone to sleep.

Meanwhile, the band was also recording material for their next album, Willy and the Poor Boys, which was released only three months after their previous album. Down on the Corner and Fortunate Son were released as a double A-sided single, and climbed to #3 on the charts by year's end.

In January 1970, CCR released yet another new double A-Side 45, Travelin' Band/Who'll Stop the Rain. The latter was inspired by the band's appearance at Woodstock.(as stated by John Fogerty, Glastonbury,June 2007) The former bore enough similarities to Little Richard's Good Golly, Miss Molly to warrant a lawsuit by the song's publisher that was eventually settled out of court. The single reached #2. A CCR cover of Good Golly, Miss Molly later appeared on their little-known three-disc greatest hits collection entitled "24 Carat," and also appeared on the band's second album, Bayou Country.

Returning to the studio that spring, the band recorded what some critics feel is their finest album, Cosmo's Factory. The title derived from the name that had been bestowed upon their various rehearsal facilities over the years, and came from Doug Clifford, whose longtime nickname was "Cosmo" due to his keen interest in all things cosmic. The album boasted the Top 10 hits, Up Around the Bend and Lookin' Out My Back Door, plus several highly popular B-sides and non-singles tracks including: Run Through the Jungle, Long As I Can See the Light and their eleven-minute cover version of I Heard it Through the Grapevine. The LP settled in at #1 on the Pop charts, and also reached #11 on the Soul chart.

Creedence Clearwater Revival had seven No. 2 singles, more than any other act that never topped the national chart. The band had #1 singles in countries other than the United States.

It was around this time that tensions began to grow. The incessant touring and heavy recording schedules were starting to take their toll on the band. The band's leader, John Fogerty, gradually took total control of the group, determining what songs they would record, how the other three band members would play and where they would tour. This arrangement began to grate on the other members of CCR, particularly Tom Fogerty, who had shared singer and songwriter duties with his younger brother prior to the band hitting the big time, but who was now relegated to the role of rhythm guitarist.

Other bones of contention included John's sudden decision, in the midst of one of their tours, to refuse to do encores. Also, a series of business decisions made by John in the band's name, many of which he would come to regret and often find himself in court attempting to undo.

The Cosmo's Factory sessions had seen the stirrings of tensions within the foursome, but there would be no open dissension between them until the recording of their next LP, Pendulum, which was released in time for Christmas in 1970. Now the other three members of the group, particularly Tom Fogerty, wanted more of a say in both the musical and business decisions of the band. John resisted, feeling that opening up every decision to a democratic process would lead to arguments, delays, bruised egos, and ultimately a diluting of the group's essence.

Pendulum was another success, spawning a Top 10 hit in Have You Ever Seen the Rain?. But now no amount of success could diffuse the differences between the Fogerty brothers. In February 1971, with Pendulum still high on the charts, Tom Fogerty left Creedence Clearwater Revival and launched a relatively successful solo career. Opting not to replace him, CCR continued as a trio.

The band did not release an album in 1971 but did put out a Top 10 single, Sweet Hitch-Hiker, and toured both in the U.S. and in Europe. In spite of their continuing commercial success, relations between the remaining band members continued to deteriorate.

Cook and Clifford were hit with a bombshell by Fogerty later that year when he informed them that, for their next LP, the band would adhere to a new democratic formula, and each of the members would be responsible for a third of the record. Cook and Clifford, who had only wanted more of a voice in the business decisions, not the onus of having to write and sing on at least six songs between them, resisted this arrangement. However, Fogerty insisted that they either accept his terms, or he would quit the band, so they reluctantly agreed. The writing was on the wall for CCR's eventual demise during the recording sessions that followed, when John would refuse to contribute anything other than rhythm guitar playing to the songs written by Clifford and Cook. Fogerty's two bandmates felt that after years of them supporting every musical concept he wanted to pursue, it was a particularly cold slap in the face that he was all but abandoning them in the studio now.

The album, released in April 1972 as Mardi Gras, did indeed receive poor reviews and suffer comparatively weak sales, with the tracks by Cook and Clifford often cited as the primary reason. John's earlier single, Sweet Hitch-Hiker, was included on the album but his other offering, Someday Never Comes, failed to break into the US Top 20, the worst showing of any CCR A-Side 45 since 1968.

By this point, John was not only at odds with his bandmates, but he had also come to see the group's relationship with Fantasy Records as onerous, feeling that label owner Zaentz had reneged on promises made to better compensate CCR. Stu Cook (who has a degree in business) claimed that because of poor judgment on their part, CCR had to abide by the worst record deal of any major American recording artist.

Just after the album's release, the group embarked on a spring tour which would ultimately be their last. Hecklers reportedly pelted the band with coins at their final concert, on May 22, in Denver. On October 16, Fantasy Records officially announced that Creedence Clearwater Revival had disbanded.

In 1973, John launched a solo career with a collection of country and gospel songs on which he played all of the instruments, under the nom de plume The Blue Ridge Rangers. The album was a minor hit, the relative commercial failure of which Fogerty blamed on lack of support from Fantasy Records, with which he was in virtual open warfare. Although still owing Fantasy eight more records under his old Creedence contract, John refused to work for the label any longer, and both sides reached an impasse that was only resolved when David Geffen of Asylum Records agreed to buy Fogerty's contract from Fantasy for $1,000,000. However, the purchase only applied to Fogerty's releases in the USA and Canada. Fantasy still controlled his distribution for the rest of the world.

1974 saw the release of the only record released after the breakup to feature the four original band members (or John Fogerty with any of the others, for that matter), the Tom Fogerty solo album, Zephyr National. Though there may not be an instance where all four are on the same recording, a few of the songs sound very much like vintage CCR, particularly the aptly titled "Joyful Resurrection" (as rumor has it, all four did reportedly play the instrumentation on this song, but John recorded his part separately from the other three, and it was added to the mix later). All four appear on the back cover of the original release of the album.

Asylum (and Fantasy outside North America) released John Fogerty in 1975 (Fogerty himself refers to the album as "Shep," after the name of his dog who is featured on the jacket cover with him). The LP scored a Top 40 hit with "Rockin' All Over the World", later a British hit single for Status Quo, and sold modestly well, but fell far short of the commercial heights scaled by CCR. When a follow-up album entitled Hoodoo was politely rejected by the record label, Fogerty entered into a nine year period away from the music industry (later agreeing with the company's assessment that Hoodoo wasn't very good, John instructed them to burn the tapes; whether the label complied or not was unclear. Hoodoo is available through internet music sharing programs; hence it does appear that the label did not comply with Fogerty's request. ).

In 1980, Fantasy Records released a concert LP from the band entitled Live From Royal Albert Hall. Unfortunately, it was soon thereafter determined that the performance was recorded not in London, England as the LP name claimed, but rather in Oakland, California. Subsequent pressings of the album have been retitled simply The Concert.

Reemerging in 1985 with Centerfield, Fogerty had a sizeable hit album in an era where several artists who were strongly influenced by CCR, including Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, were among rock's biggest stars. This album was his first for Warner Bros. Records as his Asylum contract was transferred to co-owned Warner Bros. With two Top 40 singles -- "The Old Man Down the Road" (#10) and "Rock and Roll Girls" (#20), plus the ubiquitous title track, Fogerty seemed poised to again be a major force in rock and roll. But the 1986 follow-up record, Eye of the Zombie, was a critical and commercial disappointment, and he was stung by complaints over his steadfast refusal to play any of his Creedence songs in concert (largely because had he played them live, he would have had to pay performance royalties to Zaentz, who held the copyrights, but also because, as he later said, it was "too painful" to revisit the past just yet). Fogerty also found himself embroiled in new lawsuits with Zaentz, one over the song "Zanz Kant Danz", which the Fantasy Records mogul took to be an attack on him and another in which he was taken to court for plagiarizing himself. According to Zaentz, Centerfield's "The Old Man Down the Road" was a bald rewrite of CCR's "Run Through the Jungle", and Fantasy, not John Fogerty, owned the rights to "Run Through the Jungle". Although Fogerty lost the defamation case (and subsequently re-recorded the song as "Vanz Kant Danz" for later pressings of the album), he won the plagiarism case; the judge ruled that it was impossible for artists to plagiarize themselves regardless of who held the legal rights to their music. Concurrent with this wrangling, the band's Chronicle, Vol. 2 compilation was also released on CD in 1986, but "Creedence" was misspelled as "Credence".

Once again, Fogerty retreated from music for another decade. He returned to the business in the late 1990s, touring frequently (and now playing a great many CCR tunes live, a decision he came to following a concert for Viet Nam veterans; realizing how much the old CCR tunes meant to them, he decided the time had come to perform them again), releasing occasional albums, and even winning a Grammy Award.

Best friends since high school, band members Doug Clifford and Stu Cook continued to work together following the demise of CCR, both as session players, as well as members of the Don Harrison Band. They also founded Factory Productions, a mobile recording service in the Bay Area. Clifford recorded a solo record in 1972, largely to help fulfill CCR's contractual obligations to Fantasy. Following a relatively lengthy period of musical inactivity, the duo formed a band in 1995 with other musicians called Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Still active, they tour globally, performing the original band's classics. An injunction by John Fogerty against the band using that name forced them to temporarily tour under the title Cosmo's Factory, but the courts later ruled in Cook and Clifford's favor.

In 1990, Tom Fogerty died of AIDS, which he contracted from a blood transfusion. John and Tom never fully reconciled the estrangement that followed their bitter falling out in CCR; although John did visit his brother several times during Tom's final illness.

CCR was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 on the first ballot. At the induction, Tom Fogerty's widow, Tricia, brought the urn containing his ashes for a CCR reunion. Tom's son Jeff, a professional musician, was also on hand to take his father's place as rhythm guitarist for the traditional post-awards jam, but John would not perform with fellow bandmates Stu and Doug, instead having them barred from the stage while he played with an all-star band that included Springsteen and Robbie Robertson. Cook and Clifford and their families walked out of the ceremony in protest.

The success of Creedence Clearwater Revival made Fantasy Records and Saul Zaentz a great deal of money. Zaentz used his wealth to become a film producer, and he made a number of hits, including Best Picture Oscar winners One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, and The English Patient. In 2004 he sold Fantasy to Concord Records, and as a goodwill gesture Concord has sought to make good on the unfulfilled verbal promises made to CCR nearly forty years ago, paying the band a higher royalty rate on their sales. John Fogerty also signed a new recording contract with Concord/Fantasy.

Over the years, the public's interest in CCR remained strong, and their catalog of records continued to sell well worldwide. However, they resisted all suggestions that they reunite. There were a pair of "unofficial" reunion performances by the band, however: All four members jammed together at Tom Fogerty's wedding in December of 1980, and John, Stu and Doug performed at their 20th high school reunion in '83 (at which they referred to themselves not as CCR, but rather as the Blue Velvets, which had been the name of their garage band in school). But with the new round of lawsuits between John and Saul Zaentz in the 1980s and 90s, animosities between Fogerty and his fellow bandmates were reignited. Today, John Fogerty says he has no intention of ever working with Stu Cook and Doug Clifford again, and they also insist they have no desire to collaborate with John again.

Creedence Clearwater Revival was somewhat unfashionable during the time they were active, because they concentrated on tightly-focused, well-crafted short songs rather than long, loose album cuts. Unlike many other popular artists of the day, they eschewed drug use, and did not loudly announce their political beliefs (although they were all against the war in Vietnam, and they contributed substantially monetarily to the American Indian Movement). However within a few years of their breakup their legacy became secure as one of the great American rock bands, and they heavily influenced the entire genres of heartland rock, country rock.

Decades after they last recorded together, CCR's music remains in heavy rotation on oldies and classic rock radio stations. Fogerty's songs are considered classics of the rock form: the near-perfect epitome of the fabled two-and-a-half minute 45 RPM and have been covered by multiple artists; "Fortunate Son" in particular has emerged as a political anthem both against war as well as in opposition to class privilege. Creedence songs frequently appear both in films and on television, and indeed CCR continues to find new fans among people who weren't even born until after the band split up. Their musical legacy, in short, will far outlast the lawsuits, arguments and animosities.

Recently, rumours have sprung up that CCR will reform for a one-off gig at this year's Glastonbury Festival in June.

* CCR have had many of their songs appear in movies and video games. Some include "Who'll Stop the Rain" in Who'll Stop the Rain; "Fortunate Son" in the movies Forrest Gump, Dear America - Letters Home from Vietnam, Zero Skateboards New Blood and in the video game Battlefield: Vietnam. The video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas featured the song "Green River" on the Classic Rock radio station K-DST. Other movies include Hard Target with "Born On The Bayou"; Remember the Titans and Michael with "Up Around the Bend"; The Longest Yard with "Have You Ever Seen the Rain"; The Big Lebowski with "Lookin' Out My Back Door" and "Run Through the Jungle," (also featured on HBO's Entourage) and The Big Chill; An American Werewolf in London and Blade with "Bad Moon Rising," and Twilight Zone: The Movie with "The Midnight Special". "Born On The Bayou" was featured in The Waterboy and Born on the Fourth of July. CCR's cover of the Screamin' Jay Hawkins classic "I Put a Spell on You" was featured in the movie Hocus Pocus. The breakthrough hit "Suzie Q" is featured in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now during the scene in which the Playboy bunnies perform for a crowd of military personnel in Vietnam, though the version played in the movie is not performed by CCR. Wyclef Jean's cover of "Fortunate Son" was played over the beginning and ending credits of The Manchurian Candidate (2004); The Film My Fellow Americans features "Bad Moon Rising".
* In The Simpsons episode "Mr. Spritz Goes to Washington", Homer sings a portion of "Bad Moon Rising," after hearing Marge ask someone to perform CPR.
* In Nick Hornby's book "A Long Way Down," CCR is quoted as being the disease which one of the main characters is dying of. In reality, he is not dying, he is just too ashamed to admit his reasons for committing suicide. He cites CCR because they are one of his favourite bands.
* In the book The Shining by Stephen King, there is a portion of the lyrics to "Bad Moon Rising".
* In the film The Big Lebowski, the main character, Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski, lists CCR as his favorite band.
* In the American TV program Married With Children, Al Bundy sings a portion of some CCR songs, such as "Proud Mary," and Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," which CCR famously covered.
* On the popular TV series My Name Is Earl, CCR is confused with CPR and Randy begins to sing during the medical emergency.
* "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" is used in "Unending", the final episode of TV Series Stargate SG-1. This was only the third and last time ever that a song not written by the crew of Stargate was used on the show.
* On the TV show Gilmore Girls, the character Jackson Melville is a notorious fan of band Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the show has frequently referenced them. In the episode "I Solemnly Swear", Jackson's wife puts on CCR's "Bad Moon Rising" before he realises that she might have cheated him; "CCR" gets mentioned six times within four lines of dialogue, which ends with Jackson's "You ruined Creedence for me!". In "Those are Strings, Pinocchio", Jackson offers to put some CCR music on. In "Raincoats and Recipes", Jackson sports a Creedence shirt that he says he got as an anniversary from his wife.
* In the final episode of Stargate Sg-1, the song "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" was played in the background.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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