Creedence Clearwater Revival

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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CCR (left to right): John Fogerty, Doug Clifford, Tom Fogerty, Stu Cook.

"Some folks are born, made to wave the flag
Oh, that red white and blue
And when the band plays 'Hail to the Chief'
They point the cannon at you
Some folks inherit star-spangled eyes
And they send you down to war
And when you ask them, 'How much should we give?
The only answer's 'More, more, more'"

Fortunate Son

Creedence Clearwater Revival, usually abbreviated to CCR, were a rock band of the 1960s and 1970s. Like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band, CCR helped define the southern rock genre of the era -- this despite the band starting in the San Francisco Bay Area. The two most prominent members were the Fogerty brothers, John(lead vocals, lead guitar, primary songwriter) and Tom(rhythm guitar, backing vocals). Bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford rounded out the band.

The band members met in high school, first played together as The Blue Velvets in 1959, and signed to the jazz-based Fantasy Records label in 1964, initially as a singles-oriented garage rock act called The Golliwogs. In 1968 they changed their name to Creedence Clearwater Revival and released their eponymous debut album. Their cover of "Suzie Q" received lots of air play and became their first Top 40 hit. Other notable songs from their career include "Bad Moon Rising," "Down On the Corner," "Fortunate Son," "Have You Ever Seen The Rain," and "Proud Mary."

The band broke up in 1972 due to friction between the members, much of it from John Fogerty and Stu Cook. They never reunited. Clifford and Cook eventually founded Creedence Clearwater Revisited. John Fogerty started a solo career and eventually got sued for plagiarizing CCR because of a crooked deal he had inadvertently signed with Fantasy Records owner Saul Zaentz. He won the lawsuit, and in 2007 he re-signed with Fantasy after the label's new owner reinstated his royalty payments for CCR's music. The bad blood between Fogerty, Cook and Clifford persists, however; when CCR was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, Fogerty used his cachet to forbid Clifford and Cook from taking part in the live medley played by all of that year's inductees.

Creedence Clearwater Revival provides examples of the following tropes:
  • Album Title Drop: Willy and the Poor Boys is mentioned in "Down on the Corner."
  • Alien Invasion: "It Came out of the Sky"
  • Band of Relatives: John and Tom were brothers.
  • Badass Beard: Doug Clifford sported one; see photo above.
  • Badass Grandpa: As of June 2012, John is 67, and has been recording kick-ass rock songs for 44 years.
  • Badass Mustache: All four had one at a specific point:
    • John Fogerty: when they began in 1968
    • Tom Fogerty: in later years
    • Stu Cook: up until Mardi Gras
    • Doug Clifford: with his Badass Beard, throughout the time as CCR.
  • Bad Moon Rising: Trope Namer.
  • The Band Minus the Face: The after-break-up band, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, consisting of Doug Clifford and Stu Cook.
  • Control Freak: John Fogerty, by most accounts. Tom Fogerty once said he felt he was "hip-checked" out of his role as lead singer when John joined the band.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The early Golliwogs recordings don't sound anything like CCR.
  • Epic Rocking: "I Heard It Through The Grapevine", "Susie Q". Both were drastically edited down for single release.
  • A Good Name for a Rock Band: The legend goes that the band went through several trial names. They had a friend named Credence, and added an extra "e" to that. The "Clearwater" portion came from a beer ad.
  • Grief Song: "Have You Ever Seen the Rain"
  • I Am the Band: John Fogerty sang, played all the exciting guitar parts, and wrote all the songs. Eventually Tom got so fed up with his brother's dominance that he quit the band. Stu Cook and Doug Clifford followed suit two albums later.
  • Long Runner Lineup: Despite changing names, the band was the same lineup - John, Tom, Stu and Doug - from 1959 to 1971 and qualifies as Type 1.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Bad Moon Rising" is a catchy little tune...with lyrics about the end of the world.
  • Mondegreen: "Bad Moon Rising" is a classic example, to the point where Bob Rivers recorded the 'misheard' version as a Song Parody:
    • Misheard lyrics: "There's a bathroom on the right."
    • Real lyrics: "There's a bad moon on the rise."
  • Protest Song: "Fortunate Son"
  • Read the Fine Print: The story of Fogerty and Saul Zaentz.
  • Refrain From Assuming: One episode of Jeopardy! had "Proud Mary" as the final answer, but the three contestants answered the question assuming the title was "Rollin' on the River." Their debut album is not Suzie Q, as iTunes sometimes identifies it, but the Self-Titled Album Creedence Clearwater Revival. And if you want to find a song called "Some Folks" or "It Ain't Me," don't even bother. The song's name is "Fortunate Son."
  • Repurposed Pop Song: The first line of "Fortunate Son" was re-used, out of context, in a commercial for Wrangler jeans. That was Zaentz's fault - Fogerty noted that Wrangler eventually bothered to find out he wasn't happy about it and stopped doing it.
  • Rockstar Song: "Travelin' Band"
  • Self-Titled Album: Their debut album.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: Though never released off of Willy and the Poor Boys, "Poorboy Shuffle" fades out as "Feelin' Blue" fades in, making them practically inseparable.
  • Soldiers at the Rear: The title character of "Fortunate Son".
  • Song Style Shift: "Ramble Tamble" kicks off like a fast country rocker, then shifts into a long, slow instrumental gradually building up until it segues back into fast country rock.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: All of their other albums are sung entirely by John Fogerty, but their final studio release Mardi Gras actually had John Fogerty, Stu Cook, and Doug Clifford contributing equally to the singing and songwriting (Tom Fogerty had left the band at that point). John Fogerty did sing one more song than anyone else on that album, but it's a Cover Song.
  • A Storm Is Coming: "Bad Moon Rising"
  • Take That: 1985's Centerfield contained a song originally called "Zanz Kant Danz", which contained the lyric "Zanz can't dance, but he'll steal your money." Unsurprisingly, Saul Zaentz was not amused, and threatened to sue Fogerty for defamation until the song was re-recorded as "Vanz Kant Danz".
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Most of their songs have just three chords. "Fortunate Son" has four, while "Feelin' Blue" simply alternates between D and D7.
  • Urban Legend: "Fortunate Son" is often claimed to be about a modern figure whose father was a Vietnam-era politician, such as Al Gore or George W. Bush. Fogerty himself stated that the song was inspired by Richard Nixon and his son-in-law David Eisenhower.
  • We Used to Be Friends: CCR's breakup was one of the more acrimonious in rock history. Tom Fogerty still hadn't patched things up with his bandmates at the time of his AIDS-related death in 1990, and three years later John Fogerty refused to perform with Cook and Clifford at the group's RnR HOF induction ceremony.
  • Woodstock: Yep, they were there.
  • Write What You Know: Mostly averted - California boy John Fogerty wrote a lot of songs about riverboats and bayous... They're pretty convincing, though: unless you've looked up where they actually came from, you probably think CCR hailed from somewhere in the Mississippi delta.