|Who is it?||Soundtrack, Actor|
|Also known as||CCR Creedence|
|Origin||El Cerrito, California, U.S.|
|Genres||Roots rock swamp rock rock and roll country rock|
|Years active||1967 (1967)–1972 (1972)|
|Associated acts||The Blue Velvets The Golliwogs Creedence Clearwater Revisited|
|Past members||John Fogerty Tom Fogerty Stu Cook Doug Clifford|
I was alone when I made that [Creedence] music. I was alone when I made the arrangements, I was alone when I added background vocals, guitars and some other stuff. I was alone when I produced and mixed the albums. The other guys showed up only for rehearsals and the days we made the actual recordings. For me Creedence was like sitting on a time bomb. We'd had decent successes with our cover of 'Susie Q' and with the first album. When we went into the studio to cut 'Proud Mary,' it was the first time we were in a real Hollywood studio, RCA's Los Angeles studio, and the problems started immediately. The other guys in the band insisted on writing songs for the new album, they had opinions on the arrangements, they wanted to sing. They went as far as adding background vocals to 'Proud Mary,' and it sounded awful. They used tambourines, and it sounded no better.
That's when I understood I had a choice to make. At that point in time we were just a one hit wonder, and 'Susie Q' hadn't really been that big a hit. Either this [the new album] would be a success, something really big, or we might as well start working at the car wash again. There was a big row. We went to an Italian restaurant and I remember that I very clearly told the others that I for one didn't want to go back to the car wash again. Now we had to make the best possible album and it wasn't important who did what, as long as the result was the very best we could achieve. And of course I was the one who should do it. I don't think the others really understood what I meant, but at least I could manage the situation the way I wanted. The result was eight million-selling double-sided singles in a row and six albums, all of which went platinum. And Melody Maker had us as the best band in the world. That was after the Beatles split, but still. ... And I was the one who had created all this. Despite that, I don't think they understood what I was talking about. ... They were obsessed with the idea of more control and more influence. So finally the bomb exploded and we never worked together again.
Creedence Clearwater Revival's music is still a staple of U.S. radio airplay; the band has sold 26 million albums in the United States alone. Rolling Stone ranked the band 82nd on its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.
John Fogerty, Doug Clifford, and Stu Cook met at Portola Junior High School in El Cerrito, California. Calling themselves the Blue Velvets, the trio began playing instrumentals and "juke box standards", as well as backing Fogerty's older brother Tom at live gigs and in the recording studio. Tom soon joined the band, and in 1964 they signed with Fantasy Records, an independent jazz label in San Francisco that had released Cast Your Fate To The Wind, a national hit for jazz Pianist Vince Guaraldi. The record's success was the subject of a National Educational Television special, which prompted budding Songwriter John Fogerty to contact the label. For the band's first release, Fantasy co-owner Max Weiss renamed the group the Golliwogs (after the children's literary character, Golliwogg).
In 1966, the group suffered a setback when John Fogerty and Doug Clifford received draft notices and chose to enlist in the military instead to avoid conscription. Fogerty joined the Army Reserve while Clifford joined the Coast Guard Reserve.
In 1967, Saul Zaentz bought Fantasy Records and offered the band a chance to record a full-length album on the condition that they change their name. Having never liked "the Golliwogs", in part because of the racial charge of the name, the four readily agreed. Zaentz and the band agreed to come up with ten suggestions each, but he enthusiastically agreed to their first: Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), which they took in January, 1968. According to interviews with band members twenty years later, the name's elements come from three sources:
Other cuts on the "Cosmo's Factory" album included an eleven-minute jam of the 1968 Marvin Gaye "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (a minor hit when an edited version was released as a single in 1976), and a nearly note-for-note homage to Roy Orbison's "Ooby Dooby". The album was CCR's best seller and went to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album charts and No. 11 on Billboard's Soul Albums chart.
The year 1969 had been a remarkable chart year for the band: three Top Ten albums, four hit singles (charting at No. 2, No. 2, No. 2, and No. 3) with three additional charting B-sides. On November 16, 1969, they performed "Fortunate Son" and "Down On The Corner" on The Ed Sullivan Show.
With the Centerfield album, Fogerty also found himself entangled in new, tit-for-tat lawsuits with Zaentz over the song "The Old Man Down The Road" which was, according to Zaentz, a blatant re-write of Fogerty's own 1970 CCR hit "Run Through the Jungle". Since Fogerty had traded his rights to CCR's songs in 1980 to cancel his remaining contractual obligations, Fantasy now owned the rights to "Run Through the Jungle" and sued Fogerty essentially for plagiarizing himself. While a jury ruled in Fogerty's favor, he did settle a defamation suit filed by Zaentz over the songs "Mr. Greed" and "Zanz Kant Danz". Fogerty was forced to edit the recording, changing the "Zanz" reference to "Vanz."
The success of CCR made Fantasy and Saul Zaentz a great deal of money. Indeed, Fantasy built a new headquarters building in 1971 at 2600 Tenth Street in Berkeley, California. Zaentz also used his wealth to produce a number of successful films 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. As a goodwill gesture, Concord honored the unfulfilled contractual promises Fantasy made nearly forty years earlier, finally paying the band a higher royalty rate on their sales and restoring John Fogerty's ownership of his songs back to him.
After CCR, Fantasy Records released several greatest-hits packages such as 1972's Creedence Gold, 1973's More Creedence Gold and 1975's Pre-Creedence, a compilation album of The Golliwogs' early recordings. Fantasy also released the highly successful double album Chronicle, Vol. 1, a collection of Creedence's twenty hit singles, in 1976. Several years later, the label released a live recording entitled The Royal Albert Hall Concert. Contrary to its title, the 1970 performance was recorded in Oakland, California, not at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England. Subsequent issues of the original 1981 album have been retitled simply The Concert. Another double album of their best material was issued in 1986 as Chronicle, Vol. 2.
In 1973, Fogerty began his solo career with The Blue Ridge Rangers, his one-man band collection of country and gospel songs. Under his old CCR contract, however, Fogerty owed Fantasy eight more records. In the end, he refused to work for the label. The impasse was resolved only when Asylum Records' David Geffen bought Fogerty's contract for $1,000,000. In 1975 he then released his only Asylum album, the self-titled John Fogerty. His next major hit was Centerfield, a chart-topping success in 1985. On tour in 1986, however, Fogerty suffered complaints over his steadfast refusal to perform CCR songs and suffered with recurring vocal problems which he blamed on having to testify in court. Fogerty's explanation for not playing CCR material songs was that he would have had to pay performance royalties to copyright holder Saul Zaentz, and that it was "too painful" to revisit the music of his past.
Doug Clifford also produced Groovers Paradise for former Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados frontman Doug Sahm. Both Clifford and Stu Cook played on the album which was released on Warner Bros. in 1974. Clifford continued to perform and record with Doug Sahm through the 1980s.
The original CCR lineup rarely reunited after their breakup. All four members jammed together at Tom Fogerty's wedding on October 19, 1980. John Fogerty, Cook, and Clifford played at their 20th El Cerrito High School reunion in 1983, but as their original incarnation, The Blue Velvets. In the 1980s and 1990s, new rounds of lawsuits between the band members, as well as against their former management, deepened their animosities. By the time CCR was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, John Fogerty refused to perform with Cook and Clifford. The pair were barred from the stage, while Fogerty played with an all-star band that included Bruce Springsteen and Robbie Robertson. Tom Fogerty's widow Tricia had expected a Creedence reunion and even brought the urn containing her husband's ashes to the ceremony.
On February 19, 1987, at the Palomino Club (North Hollywood) in Los Angeles, Fogerty broke his self-imposed 1972 ban on performing CCR hits. Bob Dylan and George Harrison had joined him onstage, admonishing "if you don't, the whole world's gonna think 'Proud Mary' is Tina Turner's song." At a 1987 Independence Day benefit concert for the Vietnam War veterans, Fogerty finally ran through the list of CCR hits, beginning with "Born on the Bayou" and ending with "Proud Mary". In 1986 he also released his second Warner Bros. album Eye of the Zombie. He retreated from music again in the late 1980s but returned in 1997 with the Grammy-winning Blue Moon Swamp. Fogerty still tours frequently and performs CCR classics alongside solo material.
Tom Fogerty died at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona in September 1990 of an AIDS complication, which he contracted via a tainted blood transfusion he received while undergoing back surgery. Tom and John barely reconciled before Tom's death, and in the eulogy that he delivered at Tom's funeral, John said, "We wanted to grow up and be Musicians. I guess we achieved half of that, becoming rock 'n roll stars. We didn't necessarily grow up."
Following a relatively long period of musical inactivity, Cook and Clifford formed Creedence Clearwater Revisited in 1995 with several well-known Musicians. Revisited continues to tour globally performing the original band's classics. John Fogerty's 1997 injunction forced Creedence Clearwater Revisited to temporarily change its name to "Cosmo's Factory," but the courts later ruled in Cook's and Clifford's favor.
John Fogerty later commented on the demise of CCR in a 1997 Swedish magazine:
John Fogerty, seeing that Zaentz was no longer involved with the company, also signed a new contract with Concord/Fantasy. In 2005, the label released The Long Road Home, a collection of Creedence and Fogerty solo classics. After Revival came out on the Fantasy label in October 2007 but before his following album Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again was issued in 2009, Fogerty switched from Fantasy to Verve Forecast Records.
When asked again in October 2011 about the prospect of a reunion, Fogerty said: "I'm saying it's possible, yeah. I think the call [laughs] would maybe have to come from outside the realm. Somebody would have to get me to look at things in a fresh way."
However, Cook and Clifford both stated in the February 2012 edition of Uncut Magazine that they are not interested in a CCR reunion. "Leopards don't change their spots. This is just an image-polishing exercise by John. My phone certainly hasn't rung," Cook said. Added Clifford: "It might have been a nice idea 20 years ago, but it's too late."
In May 2013, Fogerty once again said he would be open to a reunion, but he does not see Cook and Clifford being willing to change their stance. He told Charlie Rose on CBS This Morning: "From time to time, I'll say something and it'll get in print that maybe that will happen, and then immediately I'll hear back stuff that doesn't sound like it's possible. ... I think it's a possibility in the Future, you know. It's not something I'm actively seeking, but I'm not totally against the idea either."
One decision made by John Fogerty rankled his bandmates and would leave all without most of their hard-earned money and facing legal and financial problems for years. Without the other three band members' knowledge, Fogerty agreed to a tax shelter scheme proposed by Saul Zaentz and his lawyers in which most of the bandmembers' assets were transferred to Castle Bank & Trust of Nassau, Bahamas. Zaentz and his associates withdrew their assets before the bank eventually dissolved — along with the savings of the four CCR band members. A series of lawsuits began in 1978 and eventually ended with a California court awarding $8.6 million to the band members in April 1983. Despite this legal victory, very little money was recovered.
In September 2017 Clifford ruled out any chance of Cook and himself reuniting with Fogerty, stating "It would have been great 20, 25 years ago. It’s way too late now."