Creedence Clearwater Revival was founded in El Cerrito, California, in 1967. According to IMDB, the inspiration for the group’s name came from a few different things. Credence Nuvall was a friend of John Fogerty. Someone in the band once saw a beer commercial that promoted using clear water. The group added revival to their name because they played together for over ten years under many different names when they finally selected this name. During the group’s first ten years together, they played many other bars. It wasn’t until John Fogerty began writing all the group’s material that they began to see radio success. On their 1968 album, Fogerty was still finding his leadership skills.
So, they released an album that had several original compositions and standards like I, Put A Spell on You. However, it wasn’t until the group released Proud Mary in 1969 that they began to pick up fans. Another exciting thing about the group is that they were considered a singles band despite releasing a handful of incredible albums. Each time the group released one, it would almost soar to the top of the charts. Additionally, what made them a standout was despite being from the San Francisco area, which embraced psychedelic rock, they never embraced the genre and instead forged their own path in music. The group had a short commercial success because Fogerty maintained so much control it created multiple riffs. Tom Fogerty left in 1971. It was too late, even though John Fogerty gave Doug Clifford and Stu Cook more creative power on Creedence’s 1972 album Mardi Gras.
The group split after the album. In 1993 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Cream, The Doors, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Etta James, Van Morrison, Sly, and the Family Stone. Creedence Clearwater Revival maintains the record for most number two songs without ever having had a number one hit; five singles reached number 2, and eight others were in the Top 40. Nonetheless, VH1 ranks them at number forty-seven on the Greatest Artists of Rock and Roll list. Even though they never had a number one hit, they enjoyed phenomenal radio success. These are the 10 best Creedence Clearwater Revival songs of all-time.
10. Green River
During a 2012 interview with Rolling Stone, Fogerty talked about the meaning behind this song. Many people thought it was about the Lousiana Bayou and even questioned if he grew up in Louisiana. However, it was written while he was on vacation in Winters, California. Even though the river was Putah Creek, Fogerty always thought of it as Green River. Many of the lyrics in the song are memories from childhood.
9. Run Through the Jungle
It’s easy to misinterpret this song as another song about the conflict in Vietnam. However, Fogerty wrote this song about America’s growing love of guns. Even though he was a hunter and not anti-second amendment, he felt that too many people were reckless with their firearms
8. Have You Ever Seen The Rain
Fogerty wrote this song after his brother left the band. One of the most poignant lyrics in the song “I want to know – have you ever seen the rain comin’ down on a sunny day?” is most likely about Tom Fogerty leaving while the group was at the height of its commercial success.
7. Up Around The Bend
Even though this song was a hit in the United Kingdom, the title needed to be explained. The phrase up around the bend in British slang means you’re going crazy. This song has appeared in many TV shows and movies throughout the years, including Michal, Remember The Titans, and My Name Is Earl.
6. Who’ll Stop The Rain
This song has a dual meaning. Like many of Creedence’s songs, this one is about the conflict in Vietnam. Additionally, many of the lyrics are about Fogerty’s experiences at Woodstock. Later, it was used in the 1978 movie starring Nick Nolte. Originally the movie was going to be called Dog Soldiers, but after the producers bought the song’s rights, they changed it to Who’ll Stop The Rain.
5. Lookin’ Out My Back Door
Many people thought the band was doing a lot of psychedelics when this song was written. However, Fogerty was adamant that aside from Marijuana, the group never did drugs. The situation of a circus in a backyard seems preposterous, but Fogerty said that it was inspired by the Dr. Seuss book And To Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street. His son Josh was three at the time, so he was likely reading him a lot of Seuss at bedtime.
4. Down On The Corner
The lyrics of this song are a story about a fictional band called Willy and the Poor Boys who play on street corners to bring joy to people’s lives. Much like The Beatles became Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, on one of their albums, Creedence, adopted the persona of Willy and the Poor Boys for this concept album.
3. Suzie Q
This song was the group’s first significant hit. However, it was Dale Hawkins who originally recorded it. Creedence put a new spin on the song, and their version became the best remembered. One of the guitar riffs in the song was taken from Howlin’ Wolf’s blues song, Smokestack Lightning. When Fogerty rewrote this song, he wanted the new instrumentation to define Creedence’s sound. He chose a song already written because Fogerty didn’t wish to add pressure to write the song himself.
2. Fortunate Son
The late 60s were a highly divided time in United States history with people were protesting the Vietnam war. Fortunate Son became one of the most famous protest songs of the decade. Throughout the lyrics, you hear many intense political statements aimed at former President Richard Nixon. Fogerty felt that Nixon didn’t understand who young people really were and, worse held a pompous arrogance towards everything transpiring in Vietnam.
1. Bad Moon Rising
This song was the first single on the group’s 1969 album Green River. Although it didn’t reach number one on the United States charts, it did in the United Kingdom and stayed there for three weeks in September 1969. The title of the song came from a book that John Fogerty was reading. Later, he confessed he didn’t know what the phrase meant, only that he liked how it sounded.