1969 and 1970 were flagship years for rock music, with most major 1960s acts still releasing albums, and exciting new acts that would dominate the 1970s emerging. But perhaps the best performing band in this micro-era was a four piece band from California, which played stripped down, swampy rock.
During 1969 and 1970 Creedence Clearwater Revival released five strong albums, and landed five singles in the US top ten, including five #2s. Their bluesy sound was in contrast to the psychedelic rock prominent in 1968, while they wrote about Southern imagery despite never having visited. Creedence Clearwater Revival were nominally a band, but were essentially a vehicle for front-man John Fogerty, who wrote the group’s original material, and who supplied the group’s most distinctive elements with his gritty voice and his fierce lead guitar.
The group recorded local singles as The Golliwogs in the mid 1960s, but the group was put on hiatus as John Fogerty and drummer Doug Clifford undertook national service. When they reformed, they were renamed Creedence Clearwater Revival. Their 1968 debut was enjoyable, but generic, Southern rock, but John Fogerty quickly developed into an outstanding songwriter for the group’s 1969 and 1970 albums.
John Fogerty’s dominance eventually took its toll – his brother, rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, left the band after 1970’s Pendulum, due to frustration with not having his songs featured on the band’s albums. John Fogerty responded by allowing the rhythm section, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford, to contribute songs on 1972’s Mardi Gras. When their contributions were roundly panned, the band was wound down.
Creedence Clearwater Revival aren’t a band of hidden depths – what you see is generally what you get, with their straightforward arrangements. But that’s perfect for their material, and John Fogerty is a charismatic front-man and a very good writer. Keep on choogling, y’all.
Ten Favourite Creedence Clearwater Revival Songs
Up Around The Bend
Down On The Corner
Lookin’ Out My Back Door
It Came Out Of The Sky
Who’ll Stop The Rain
Wrote A Song For Everyone