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Creedence Clearwater Revival Biography

Birth Place: El Cerrito, California
Years Active: 1959-1972
Genres: Roots Rock, Country Rock, Swamp Rock, Rock And Roll, Southern Rock, Blue-Eyed Soul

Creedence Clearwater Revival (often abbreviated CCR) was an American rock band that gained popularity in the late 1960s and early 1970s with a number of successful singles drawn from various albums. The group consisted of lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and primary songwriter John Fogerty, his brother and rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty, bassist Stu Cook, and drummer Doug Clifford. Their musical style encompassed rock and roll and swamp rock genres. Despite their San Francisco Bay Area origins, they positioned themselves as Southern rock stylists, singing often about bayous, the Mississippi River, catfish, and other popular elements of Southern iconography.

The resulting 1968 debut album “Creedence Clearwater Revival” struck a responsive note with the emerging underground pop culture press, which touted CCR as a band worthy of attention. More importantly, AM radio programmers around the United States took note when a song from the LP, "Suzie Q", received substantial airplay in the San Francisco Bay Area. A remake of a 1956 song by rockabilly singer Dale Hawkins, "Suzie Q" was the band's second single, and its first to crack the Top 40. Reaching #11 nationally, it would be Creedence's only Top 40 hit not written by John Fogerty. Two other singles from the debut were released: a cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell On You" (which made it to #58) and "Porterville", written during John Fogerty's Army Reserve stint.

While undertaking a steady string of live dates around the country to capitalize on their breakthrough, CCR also was hard at work on their second album “Bayou Country” at RCA Studios in Los Angeles. Released in January 1969 and becoming a #7 platinum hit, the record was the first in a string of hit albums and singles which continued uninterrupted for the next three years. The single "Proud Mary," backed with "Born On the Bayou," went to #2 on the national Billboard chart. The former would eventually become the group's most-covered song, with some 100 cover versions by other artists to date, including a hit version in 1971 by Ike and Tina Turner. The album also featured a blistering remake of the rock & roll classic "Good Golly Miss Molly" and the band's nine-minute live-show closer, "Keep On Chooglin'.”

Only weeks later, in March 1969, "Bad Moon Rising" backed with "Lodi" was released and peaked at #2 on the charts. The band's third album, “Green River,” followed in August and quickly went gold along with the single "Green River," which again reached #2 on the Billboard charts. The B-side of "Green River," "Commotion" peaked at #30.

A fourth album, “Willy and the Poor Boys,” was released in November 1969. "Down on the Corner", and "Fortunate Son" climbed to #3 and #14, respectively, by year's end. The album was Creedence in its standard form, featuring Fogerty originals and two reworked Leadbelly covers, "Cotton Fields" and "Midnight Special." 1969 had been a remarkable chart year for the band: three Top Ten albums, four hit singles (charting at #2, #2, #2, and #3) with three additional charting B-sides.

Just after the new year, 1970, CCR released yet another new double-sided 45, "Travelin' Band"/"Who'll Stop the Rain." John Fogerty has said that the flip side was inspired by the band's experience at Woodstock.

In April 1970, Creedence was set to begin its first European tour. To support the upcoming live dates, Fogerty came up with "Up Around the Bend," a good-time party rocker, and the brooding "Run Through the Jungle," about the burgeoning problem of societal violence in the United States. The single—written, recorded, and shipped in only a few days' time—went to #4 that spring, enjoying enthusiastic response from European live audiences and high commercial success in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

The band returned to Wally Heider's San Francisco studio in June to record, “Cosmo's Factory.” The album contained the earlier Top 10 hits "Travelin' Band" and "Up Around the Bend" plus highly popular album tracks such as the opener "Ramble Tamble."

“Cosmo's” was released in July 1970, along with yet another #2 national hit, "Lookin' Out My Back Door"/"Long As I Can See the Light." It was the band's fifth #2 single. Creedence Clearwater Revival never had a #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit. Their five #2 singles were exceeded only by Elvis Presley and Madonna with 6 each. CCR has the odd distinction of having the most #2 singles on the Billboard charts without ever having had a #1.

Other cuts on the "Cosmo's Factory" album included an incisive eleven-minute jam of the 1967 and 1968 R&B hit "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" and a nearly note-for-note homage to Roy Orbison's "Ooby Dooby." The album, eleven songs in all, was Creedence's best seller and went straight to #1 on the Billboard 200 album charts and #11 on Billboard's Soul Albums chart.

“Pendulum,” released in December 1970, was another top seller, spawning a Top 10 hit with "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?." The single's flip side, the ringing "Hey Tonight," was also a hit.

The band's final album, “Mardi Gras,” was released in April 1972, featuring a cover of "Hello Mary Lou" (a song Gene Pitney originally wrote for Ricky Nelson.) The sales of “Mardi Gras” were weaker than those of the previous albums, although the album peaked at #12. The 1971 hit single "Sweet Hitch-Hiker"/"Door to Door" was included on the album. Fogerty's "Someday Never Comes," backed with Clifford's "Tearin' Up the Country," also cracked the US Top 40.

In October 1972 the band officially announced the disbanding of Creedence Clearwater Revival. The band has sold 26 million albums in the United States alone. CCR was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.