Creedence Clearwater Revival – Suzie Q

This song has one of the most recognizable guitar licks in rock history.

A bar band needing another song to get through the night? This is the one that the guitar player would noodle around and get it and the band could kick in without rehearsing. I saw the clock turn to 3am playing this song many times… if you could see the clock through the smoke. The guitar riff on the original version was created by the then-15-year-old James Burton.

The song took Dale Hawkins and his band three months to perfect the song on the stages throughout the south. He was the original singer of the song and it came out in 1957.  The song was credited to Dale Hawkins, Robert Chaisson, Stan Lewis, and Eleanor Broadwater. The song peaked at #24 on the Billboard 100 and #7 on the R&B Charts.

This song is the only top 40 song for CCR not written by John Fogerty. This song started it all for Creedence. After this, they were one of the most successful bands in the world. The song peaked at #11 on the Billboard 100 and #10 in Canada. Fogerty wanted to make their identity with this song.

CCR’s version became popular on the West Coast before it was available on vinyl. The band brought a cassette tape of the song to a San Francisco DJ, who played it in appreciation for the group’s earlier support of a DJ strike. Fantasy records then had to get the single out. The song was on their debut album called Creedence Clearwater Revival released in 1968. It peaked at #52 on the Billboard Album Charts.

The Rolling Stones also covered it on their 1964 12 x 5 album.

John Fogerty:  “I knew I needed to work on arranging the song so that the band would sound like Creedence Clearwater Revival, would sound professional, mysterious and also have their own definition. The song I chose was ‘Susie Q.’ I decided not to write the song myself. I decided to pick something that existed because it’d just be easier. I’d be less self-conscious about doing things.”

John Fogerty on hearing it for the first time:  “I went crazy and immediately began banging on the dashboard.”

When asked what the rhymes are in the latter part of the song, bass player Stu Cook said, “They were just simple rhymes. John hated it when songwriters used simple rhymes just to make things rhyme, so this was a statement against that. It was sort of anti-Dylan.”

Suzie Q

Oh Susie Q, oh Susie Q
Oh Susie Q baby I love you, Susie Q
I like the way you walk
I like the way you talk
I like the way you walk
I like the way you talk
Susie Q

Well, say that you’ll be true
Well, say that you’ll be true
Well, say that you’ll be true and never leave me blue, Susie Q

Well, say that you’ll be mine
Well, say that you’ll be mine
Well, say that you’ll be mine, baby all the time, Susie Q

Uh uh
Uh uh
Uh uh
Uh uh

Oh Susie Q, oh Susie Q
Oh Susie Q, baby I love you, Susie Q

I like the way you walk
I like the way you talk
I like the way you walk I like the way you talk, Susie Q

Oh Susie Q, oh Susie Q
Oh Susie Q, baby I love you, Susie Q

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

24 thoughts on “Creedence Clearwater Revival – Suzie Q”

  1. Similar to Newepicauthor, while I dig the original, tje feel the rendition by CCR is the best I’ve heard thus far. The intensity of Fogerty’s guitar is through the roof. And, yep, I can see why it’s a perfect tune to play for a bar band. To me it comes close to another tune I feel is perfect to play in a crowded hazy bar: “Dead Flowers” by the Stones!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yea me also with this one. I really love Creedence but I’ve covered every single they had except another famous cover they did. They were a savior to our bar band we had…you never had to worry if a CCR song would go over well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like you had a lot of fun. I envy your talent! My oldest brother has been playing bass in bar bands for probably 50 and more years now, he’s still in two bands now.

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      2. I’m curious as to the other cover, Grapevine perhaps? I was surprised when I found out Gib Guilbeau recorded Lodi in 1968, before CCR. So technically a cover song…sort of?

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  2. EVERY cover band at high school dances in the late 60s played this song. I don’t know how many times I heard this live before I ever heard a recorded version. (“Fire” by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown was another song like that.)

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  3. When I played hacker Bass in the Current River Band we played this tune as I couldn’t even muck up the bass line lol…plus it filled 3 minutes of our set as well which was also a plus. lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yea….you can do just root notes on this if you wanted to on bass. Band names… I’ve been in “Green Swingset”, Revolver, The Flying Junebugs, The Surfcombers, The Wheels, and some I can’t think of now.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. my least favorite CCR single, perhaps result of it not being a Fogerty one. But, they were smart to pick a cover, something kind of familiar, to kick off their career, get the foot in the door. Great that the radio station would play the cassette demo! They do seem like apopular pick for Bar Bands everywhere, though in my experience up north, I think ‘Bad moon rising’ might have been the top pick for them to try (and usually do not so well)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. With us it was Down On The Corner, Proud Mary, and yes Bad Moon Rising…you could play ANY of their songs and get a huge ovation. I learned Lodi and played it the same night…showed the guys the chords and off we went without rehearsing….you could do that with their songs because we had heard them so many times.

      Liked by 1 person

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