Creedence Clearwater Revival – Hey Tonight

Hey Tonight is the B-side of “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” the first single Creedence Clearwater Revival released in 1971 and the last the band launched as a quartet. Both single cuts also appear on the Pendulum album. What terrific singles this great band produced like clockwork.

This is yet another song that has the character “Jody” in it. Songs like It Came Out Of The Sky, Hey Tonight, and a solo Fogerty song called Almost Saturday Night. He has never said one way or another if it was based on someone or just sounded good in the song…probably the latter.

John Fogerty wrote “Hey Tonight” and the band rehearsed it before the group hit the studio in 1970. Fogerty thought the song was one of the better ones on the album despite the fact it was written in while the band was in turmoil at that time.  Creedence Clearwater played “Hey Tonight” live for a first time at the private party the band held to music writers at Cosmo’s Factory on December 12th, 1970.

John not only wrote, sings and plays guitar on every track, he also overdubbed organ and saxophone (which he played himself) on some of the songs.

Have You Ever Seen The Rain?/Hey Tonight peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100 and #1 in Canada in 1971.

This video below is not a real video to the song but it shows some footage I haven’t seen before of the band as a trio after Tom quit. The song is right below this one. 

Hey Tonight

Hey, Tonight,
Gonna be tonight,
Don’t you know I’m flyin’
Tonight, tonight.
Hey, c’mon,
Gonna chase tomorrow
Tonight, tonight.

Gonna get it to the rafters,
Watch me now.
Jody’s gonna get religion
All night long.

Hey, c’mon,
Gonna hear the sun
Tonight, tonight.

Gonna get it to the rafters,
Watch me now.
Jody’s gonna get religion
All night long.

Aaaah!
Hey, Tonight,
Gonna be tonight,
Don’t you know I’m flyin’
Tonight, tonight.
Tonight, tonight.

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Run Through The Jungle

It’s hard to say what song by Creedence is my favorite…but this one is in my top 3.

Creedence had some of the best singles ever. This was released as the B-side to the single for “Up Around the Bend,” which was issued in April and quickly went gold.  Up Around the Bend/Run Through The Jungle peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100 and #1 in Canada in 1970.

Many people thought this was about Vietnam but Fogerty has said it was about America and guns. He isn’t anti-gun but many people he thought were “gun happy” and that is what the song is about. John’s quote is below

Long after this song was released and Fogerty released his single “Old Man down the Road” in 1985…Former CCR executive Saul Zaentz claimed that that song, which Fogerty released as a solo artist, was too similar to Run Through The Jungle, and even took him to court. It was perhaps the first time an artist was sued for plagiarizing himself.

Fogerty won that case, but Zaentz also sued him for his song “Zanz Kant Danz,” professing that it was an attack on him. Zaentz won that case and Fogerty not only had to pay a fine, but also had to change the song’s name to “Vanz Kant Danz.” Zaentz was the root of the problem between the members of CCR.

John Fogerty: “I think a lot of people thought that because of the times, but I was talking about America and the proliferation of guns, registered and otherwise. I’m a hunter and I’m not antigun, but I just thought that people were so gun-happy – and there were so many guns uncontrolled that it really was dangerous, and it’s even worse now. It’s interesting that it has taken 20-odd years to get a movement on that position.”

From Songfacts

This is often believed to be about the Vietnam War, as it referred to a “jungle” and was released in 1970. The fact that previous CCR songs such as “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” and “Fortunate Son” were protests of the Vietnam War added to this theory. In response, 

This position is best demonstrated in this lyric:

200 million guns are loaded
Satan cries, “Take aim!”

This opens with jungle sound effects created by, according to Stu Cook, “lots of backwards recorded guitar and piano.”

Speaking about the musical influence on this song, John Fogerty said: “There were so many more people I’d never heard of – like Charlie Patton (an early Delta bluesman). I’m ashamed to admit that, but he wasn’t commercially accessible, I guess. I read about him, and about a month or two later, I realized there were recordings of his music. To me, that was like if Moses had left behind a DAT with the Dead Sea Scrolls or something! ‘You mean you can hear him?! Oh my God!’ And then when I did hear Patton, he sounded like Howlin’ Wolf, who was a big influence on me. When I did ‘Run Through the Jungle,’ I was being Howlin’ Wolf, and Howlin’ Wolf knew Charlie Patton!”

The line, “Devil’s on the loose” (“They told me, ‘Don’t go walking slow ’cause Devil’s on the loose'”) was taken from music journalist Phil Elwood, who misinterpreted the line “doubles on kazoo” from the song “Down on the Corner” (“Willy goes into a dance and doubles on kazoo”). Fogerty saw this misquoted lyric in the newspaper and loved it, so he thanked Phil and used it for “Run through the Jungle.”

Most artists didn’t use songs that could be standalone singles as B-sides, but if you bought a CCR single, you often got two hit songs – another example is “Travelin’ Band” and “Who’ll Stop The Rain?,” which were paired on the same single.

John Fogerty played the harmonica part. Like the vocals on “Down on the Corner,” he recorded it after recording the actual song and dubbed it in, because it went from harmonica to vocals so quickly and he couldn’t remove the harmonica from his mouth fast enough. John also played harmonica on his solo effort The Wall (not to be confused with the Pink Floyd album).

Fogerty told Guitar World in 1997 that when he sang “Run Through the Jungle,” he was “being Howlin’ Wolf,” an artist he cites as a major influence on him.

The Gun Club covered this for their album Miami, although with different lyrics because vocalist and band leader Jerry Pierce couldn’t understand what John Fogerty was singing. He took some lyrics from black slavery songs, a Willie Brown song and personal experience (a heroin overdose is mentioned). They first performed it at a friend’s birthday party before they were persuaded to include it on the album.

Besides Gun Club, this has been covered by Bruce Springsteen, Georgia Satellites, 8 Eyed Spy, Los Lobos and Killdozer.

Tom Fogerty called this song, “My all-time favorite Creedence tune.” He added, “It’s like a little movie in itself with all the sound effects. It never changes key, but it holds your interest the whole time. It’s like a musician’s dream. It never changes key, yet you get the illusion it does.” 

This song has appeared in the following movies:

Air America (1990)
My Girl (1991)
Rudy (1993)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Radiofreccia (1998)
Radio Arrow (1998)
Tropic Thunder (2008)
Drift (2013)

And these TV series:

Entourage (The Scene – 2004)
Supernatural (“Sin City” – 2007, “Out of the Darkness, Into the Fire” – 2015)
Hawaii Five-0 (“Kahu” – 2012)

Run Through The Jungle

Whoa thought it was a nightmare
Lord it was so true

They told me don’t go walking slow
The devil’s on the loose

Better run through the jungle
Better run through the jungle
Better run through the jungle
Whoa don’t look back to see

Thought I heard a rumblin’
Calling to my name

Two hundred million guns are loaded
Satan cries “take aim”

Better run through the jungle
Better run through the jungle
Better run through the jungle
Whoa don’t look back to see

Over on the mountain, thunder magic spoke
Let the people know my wisdom
Fill the land with smoke

Better run through the jungle
Better run through the jungle
Better run through the jungle
Whoa don’t look back to see

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Proud Mary

I love this song by Creedence but it’s probably the song I seek out the least…only because I’ve probably heard it the most. If I hear it on the radio I like it though all over again. This song was the game changer for CCR.

Fogerty refused to play his Creedence songs that he wrote for years because of bitter memories and bad contracts he signed with Creedence. He didn’t think about relenting until a stage appearance on February 19. 1987 with Dylan and George Harrison at a Taj Mahal concert at the Palomino, a Los Angeles club.

Dylan told him ‘Hey, John, if you don’t do these tunes, the world’s going to remember “Proud Mary” as Tina Turner’s song.” That got John thinking that ignoring his back catalog probably harmed his career and started to play those songs again.

When CCR recorded this song, John Fogerty wasn’t happy with the harmony vocals so when the band was at dinner…he recorded them himself and overdubbed them onto the track. This caused further tension in his already tension filled relationship with his bandmates.

The song was on Bayou Country released in 1969 and it peaked at #7 in the Billboard Album Charts, #14 in Canada, and #62 in the UK.

The song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #2 in Canada, #8 in the UK, and #3 in New Zealand.

The song came together on the day that John Fogerty got his discharge papers from the US Army. Fogerty had been drafted in 1966 and was part of a Reserve unit, serving at Fort Bragg, Fort Knox, and Fort Lee. His discharge papers came in 1967.

John Fogerty: “The Army and Creedence overlapped, so I was ‘that hippie with a record on the radio.’ I’d been trying to get out of the Army, and on the steps of my apartment house sat a diploma-sized letter from the government. It sat there for a couple of days, right next to my door. One day, I saw the envelope and bent down to look at it, noticing it said ‘John Fogerty.’ I went into the house, opened the thing up, and saw that it was my honorable discharge from the Army. I was finally out! This was 1968 and people were still dying. I was so happy, I ran out into my little patch of lawn and turned cartwheels. Then I went into my house, picked up my guitar and started strumming. ‘Left a good job in the city’ and then several good lines came out of me immediately. I had the chord changes, the minor chord where it says, ‘Big wheel keep on turnin’/Proud Mary keep on burnin” (or ‘boinin’,’ using my funky pronunciation I got from Howling’ Wolf). By the time I hit ‘Rolling, rolling, rolling on the river,’ I knew I had written my best song. It vibrated inside me. When we rehearsed it, I felt like Cole Porter.”

John Fogerty liked Ike and Tina’s version: “When it ended, if they had a camera and came back to me it’d be like, when Shrek and the donkey go to Far, Far Away and they push the button for that little arcade machine and it tells the whole story of their town! And the Donkey’s like [Eddie Murphy impression] ‘Let’s do that again!’ That’s how I felt when that ended. I loved it, and I was so honored. I was like, ‘Wow, Ike and Tina!’ I had actually been following their career for quite some time. Way back in the day, when Janis and Grace Slick started to get known by the kids who were my age, I’d be like, ‘Man, Tina Turner, c’mon!’ She finally got her due, but for a while there, she wasn’t noticed. It was a really good version, and it was different. I mean, that’s the key. Instead of the same thing, it was really exciting.”

From Songfacts

In the beginning, “Proud Mary” had nothing to do with a riverboat. Instead, John Fogerty envisioned it as the story of a woman who works as a maid for rich people. “She gets off the bus every morning and goes to work and holds their lives together,” he explained. “Then she has to go home.”

It was Stu Cook who first introduced the riverboat aspect of the song. The idea came to him as the group watched the television show Maverick and Stu made the statement, “Hey riverboat, blow your bell.” John agreed that the boat seemed to have something to do with the song that had been brewing in his mind for quite some time, waiting to take conscious shape. When he wrote the music, he made the first few chords evoke a riverboat paddlewheel going around. Thus, “Proud Mary” went from being a cleanup lady to a boat.

Fogerty wrote the lyrics based on three song title ideas: “Proud Mary,” “Riverboat,” and “Rolling On A River.” He carried around a notebook with titles that he thought would make good songs, and “Proud Mary” was at the top of the list.
So it was that an all-American classic was born from the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the late 1960s. Fogerty suspected right away that his “Tin Pan Alley” song was a radio-friendly hit, and he was right. The song hit #2 in the US, reached #8 in the UK, and #1 in Austria.

This was the first of five singles by Creedence that went to #2 on the US chart; they have the most #2 songs without ever having a #1.

Despite popular belief, John Fogerty was not writing from experience when he wrote this. Thanks to his military commitment, he hadn’t ventured further east than Montana. After the song was recorded, he took a trip to Memphis so he could finally see the Mississippi River.

The original CCR version peaked at #2 in March 1969. In June, Solomon Burke’s rendition hit #45. His was the first to include a spoken into:

I know a lot of you folks would like to know what the old Proud Mary is all about
Well, I’d like to tell you about her
She’s nothing but a big old boat
You see, my forefathers used to ride the bottoms of her as stokers, cooks, and waiters
And I made a vow that when I grew up, I’d take a ride on the old Proud Mary
And if you’d let me, I’d like to sing about it

Burke then sings, “looking for a job in the city,” as opposed to “left a good job in the city.”

This was a #4 hit in the US for Ike & Tina Turner in 1971, and a highlight of their live shows. Tina Turner recalled in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 1971 how they came to record this on their Workin’ Together album: “When we cut the album, we were lacking a few tunes, so we said ‘Well, let’s just put in a few things that we’re doing on stage. And that’s how ‘Proud Mary’ came about. I had loved it when it first came out. We auditioned a girl and she had sung ‘Proud Mary.’ This is like eight months later, and Ike said, ‘You know, I forgot all about that tune.’ And I said let’s do it, but let’s change it. So in the car Ike plays the guitar, we just sort of jam. And we just sort of broke into the black version of it. It was never planned to say, ‘Well, let’s go to the record shop, and I’d like to record this tune by Aretha Franklin’… it’s just that we get it for stage, because we give the people a little bit of us and a little bit of what they hear on the radio every day.”

“Proud Mary” attracted 35 covers in the year 1969 alone. Over 100 have been made since.

These are the US charting versions:

Creedence Clearwater Revival (#2, 1969)
Solomon Burke (#45, 1969)
Checkmates, Ltd. feat. Sonny Charles (#69, 1969)
Ike & Tina Turner (#4, 1971)
Glee Cast (#115, 2009)

The line, “Pumped a lot of pain down in New Orleans” is actually “Pumped a lot of ‘Pane,” as in propane. He was pumping gas.

The Checkmates, Ltd. did a horn-powered, gospel inflected version of this song that was produced by Phil Spector and featured Sonny Charles on lead vocals. Running 4:30, it’s substantially longer than the 3:07 original, and went to #69 in November 1969.

This arrangement was clearly an influence on the Ike & Tina Turner version, which they started performing soon after. There was speculation that Spector, who produced Ike & Tina on their 1966 single “River Deep – Mountain High,” brought this version to Ike Turner’s attention.

Fogerty came up with the famous chord riff on guitar when he was playing around with Beethoven’s “5th Symphony.” That one goes “dun dun dun duuunnnnn…,” but Fogerty thought it would sound better with the emphasis on the first note, which is how he arrived at “do do do do.”

This part reminded him of the paddle wheel that impels a riverboat. “‘Proud Mary’ is not a side-wheeler, it’s a stern-wheeler,” he explained.

Even though Creedence Clearwater Revival was from El Cerrito, California, many people thought they were from New Orleans or some other part of the South because of their swamp rock sound. They helped feed the rumor by naming their second album Bayou Country.

Tina Turner recorded a solo version for her 1993 album What’s Love Got To Do With It, which was the soundtrack to her biopic of the same name. In the film, it was lip-synced by Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne (who played Ike and Tina), but on the recording, Tina’s sax player Tim Cappello did Ike’s bass vocals. By recording her own version with no trace of Ike, it made sure he could not profit from its use in the film or soundtrack – an important distinction considering Tina’s accusations of spousal abuse.

When Tina performed the song live, she would usually do a variation on the spoken part, but without the male vocal.

Ike & Tina Turner’s version charted for the first time in the UK on the chart dated October 2, 2010 after it was performed on X-Factor by auditioneees Diva Fever. This version was credited to Tina Turner only.

Ike and Tina performed their version on the Season 2 premiere of Soul Train in 1972, becoming the first big act to appear on the program. The show became very popular its first season because of the dancers, but they were able to book many famous guests in subsequent seasons.

The occasion didn’t inspire Fogerty to start regularly performing CCR songs again, but it did break it for that one evening as four legends of rock jammed together.

According to the book Bad Moon Rising, Bob Dylan called “Proud Mary” his favorite song of 1969.

A film about a hitwoman titled Proud Mary was released in January 2018. Not only does the action movie take its name from the song, but altered lyrics from the tune appear on the poster promoting it, with the tagline, “Killing for the Man every Night and Day.”

John Fogerty took to Twitter to complain:

“I wrote the song ‘Proud Mary’ 50 years ago, and I was very excited to have written such a good song. In fact, it was my very first good song.

My songs are special to me. Precious. So it irks me when people seek to capitalize on the popularity of my music and the good will it has earned with the public for their own financial gain. Over the years, I have often found myself directly opposed to these uses.

This movie has nothing to do with me, or my song. They simply picked the title and wrote a completely fictitious story around it.”

He added: “No one ever asked me about using my song this way, or even about the meaning of Proud Mary.”

The film, as well as the trailer, features the Tina Turner version of the song. Fogerty lost the rights to his CCR songs in 1973, so there was nothing he could do about having a cover version of the song used in the film.

Leonard Nimoy, who played “Mr. Spock” on Star Trek, recorded an infamous cover of this song. Near the end, he sings the chorus Elmer Fudd style – “Big wheel keep on toynin’, Pwoud Mawy keep on boinin’…” It is included on a CD called Golden Throats.

This song was used to disastrous effect to open the 1989 Academy Awards ceremony in a bit where host Rob Lowe sang it with an actress playing Snow White, with the lyrics changed to be about Hollywood:

Klieg lights keep on burnin’
Cameras keep on turnin’
Rollin’ Rollin’
Keep the cameras rollin’

Proud Mary

Left a good job in the city
Workin’ for the man ev’ry night and day
And I never lost one minute of sleepin’
Worryin’ ’bout the way things might have been

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis
Pumped a lot of pane down in New Orleans
But I never saw the good side of the city
‘Til I hitched a ride on a river boat queen

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

If you come down to the river
Bet you gonna find some people who live
You don’t have to worry ’cause you have [if you got] no money
People on the river are happy to give

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Sweet Hitch-Hiker

I was headed over to see my then girlfriend in 1985 and I was exiting off of the interstate. That is when I saw a beautiful girl hitch-hiking. She was stunning and conservatively dressed. So being a caring guy… I wanted to do a good deed! I stopped and asked her if I could help. She got in the car and was very nice and well spoken. She asked me where I was going and I told her to my girlfriend’s house.

Then came the question…did I want a “date” for that night…I told her my girlfriend would probably frown on that idea so I took her back where I found her and let her out…she was totally nice but yea I was a naïve 18 year old and ever since then this song reminds me of her…So this song is for her where ever she is now.

This is a great song that was on what was regarded as Creedence’s worse album.

The Mardi Gras album. By this time John’s brother had quit and the other two (Stu Cook and Doug Clifford) members had wanted more to do with the band’s direction. John told them for this album they would have more to do like writing and singing  3 songs each…they were not ready for that and the result was Mardi Gras…it was universally panned but there are some good songs on it…mostly the Fogerty contributions. It was their last studio album.

The song peaked at #6 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, and #36 in the UK in 1971. The album peaked at #12 in the Billboard Album Charts and #11 in Canada.

From Songfacts

This was the first CCR album that John Fogerty did not dominate. Other members of the band had accused him of being a control freak, so Fogerty let them do more of the songwriting and have a more prominent role on this album. It was the beginning of the end for CCR, as the album was a flop and this song the last of their hits.

In the line, “We could make music at the Greasy King,” The Greasy King was the nickname for the local burger stand in Berkeley, California near their rehearsal space, which they called “Cosmo’s Factory.”

This was the first single CCR released as a trio – Tom Fogerty left before the album was recorded.

The band started a four-continent tour as this was released.

Since they did not have other new songs to go along with this track, it was released as a single a year before the Mardi Gras album was issued.

The follow-up single, “Molina”/”Sailor’s Lament,” was never released in North America. It was released in Germany and became a major hit there in late 1971.

Sweet Hitchhiker

Was ridin’ alongside the highway
Rollin’ up the country side
Thinkin’ I’m the devil’s heatwave
What you burn in your crazy mind?
Saw a slight distraction
Standin’ by the road
She was smilin’ there
Yellow in her hair
Do you wanna, I was thinkin’
Would you care?

Sweet Hitchhiker
We could make music at the Greasy King
Sweet Hitchhiker,
Won’t you ride on my fast machine?

Cruisin’ on through the junction
I’m flyin’ ’bout the speed of sound
Noticin’ peculiar function
I ain’t no roller coaster
Show me down
I turned away to see her
Whoa, she caught my eye
But I was rollin’ down
Movin’ too fast
Do you wanna, she was thinkin’
Can it last?

Sweet Hitchhiker
We could make music at the Greasy King
Sweet Hitchhiker
Won’t you ride on my fast machine?

Was busted up along the highway
I’m the saddest ridin’ fool alive
Wond’ring if you’re goin’ in my way
Won’t you give a poor boy a ride?
Here she comes a ridin’
Lord, she’s flyin’ high
But she was rollin’ down
Movin’ too fast
Do you wanna, she was thinkin’
Can I last?

Sweet Hitchhiker
We could make music at the Greasy King
Sweet Hitchhiker
Won’t you ride on my fast machine?

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Who’ll Stop The Rain

I love CCR…what a band they were…they didn’t have the resources the Beatles, Stones, and The Who as in a big record company, managers, and producers but they kept up with their British counterparts.

John Fogerty wrote this song. The song has been dissected a lot and some say it was a protest of the Vietnam War like “Fortunate Son”. Fogerty has said that when he was  at Woodstock, He watched the festival goers dance in the rain, muddy, naked, cold, huddling together, and it just kept raining.

So when he got back home after that weekend, he sat down and wrote “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” making it not a Vietnam protest at all, but a recounting of his Woodstock experience.

Another great single by CCR…the B side to this song was Travelin’ Band.

The song was on what was perhaps their best album Cosmo’s Factory. The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, The UK, and Canada.

Who’ll Stop The Rain peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100, #4 in Canada, and #8 in the UK in 1970.

John Fogerty: When interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine, John Fogerty was asked, “Does ‘Who’ll Stop The Rain’ contain lyrically specific meanings besides the symbolic dimension?” His response: “Certainly, I was talking about Washington when I wrote the song, but I remember bringing the master version of the song home and playing it. My son Josh was four years old at the time, and after he heard it, he said, ‘Daddy stop the rain.’ And my wife and I looked at each other and said, ‘Well, not quite.'” 

From Songfacts

This was used in the 1978 motion picture of the same name starring Nick Nolte as a Vietnam veteran. The movie was going to be called Dog Soldiers, but when the producers got the rights to use this song, they changed the title to Who’ll Stop The Rain.

This was released as the B-side to “Travelin’ Band.” It’s one of the many CCR singles to stall at #2. Creedence Clearwater Revival never had a #1 hit in the US.

The line, “I went down Virginia, seekin’ shelter from the storm” gave Bob Dylan the idea for the title of his 1975 song “Shelter From The Storm.”

This is one of many rain-themed CCR songs, including “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”

Bruce Springsteen opened with this song during his summer stadium tour of 2003 whenever it was raining

During the lockdown John and his family has played a lot of Creedence’s songs for fans… This is one. 

Who’ll Stop The Rain

Long as I remember The rain been coming down.
Clouds of mystery pouring Confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages, Trying to find the sun;
And I wonder, Still I wonder, Who’ll stop the rain.

I went down Virginia, Seeking shelter from the storm.
Caught up in the fable, I watched the tower grow.
Five year plans and new deals, Wrapped in golden chains.
And I wonder, Still I wonder Who’ll stop the rain.

Heard the singers playing, How we cheered for more.
The crowd had rushed together, Trying to keep warm.
Still the rain kept pouring, Falling on my ears.
And I wonder, Still I wonder Who’ll stop the rain.

Creedence Clearwater Revival – It Came Out Of The Sky

Walter and Eric said they’d put him on a network TV show
The White House said, “Put the thing in the blue room”
The Vatican said, “No, it belongs to Rome”
And Jody said, it’s mine but you can have it for seventeen million

This is one Creedence song that you don’t hear everyday…that doesn’t make it any less of a song than their others.

It’s about a farmer called Jody who finds a UFO and become famous. The event first triggers fear and later greed. Between the lines, there’re also sarcastic remarks on American show business, media and politics.

The character of “Jody” comes up in other songs of John Fogerty. Jody is in Almost Saturday Night, Hey Tonight and this one of course.

The song name checks different people and places. Ronald Reagan, Spiro Agnew, The White House, Hollywood, and  the Vatican. Also in the mix are news reporters Walter Cronkite and Eric Sevareid.

It Came Out Of The Sky was never released as a single in America. In the UK it was backed with Side of the Road. It didn’t get much airplay there and didn’t chart.

The song was on the album Willy and the Poor Boys…a great album that peaked at #3 in the Billboard Album Charts, #2 in Canada, and #10 in the UK in 1970. Creedence had 18 songs in the top 100 and 9 top 10 hits yet no number 1’s in the Billboard 100…which I still find hard believe.

The song appeared in an episode of Better Call Saul and WKRP…the classic episode of Turkey’s Away.

It Came Out Of The Sky

Oh, it came out of the sky, landed just a little south of Moline
Jody fell out of his tractor, couldn’t believe what he seen
Laid on the ground and shook, fearin’ for his life
Then he ran all the way to town screamin’ it came out of the sky

Well, a crowd gathered ’round and a scientist said it was marsh gas
Spiro came and made a speech about raising the Mars tax
The Vatican said, “Woe, the lord has come”
Hollywood rushed out an epic film
And Ronnie the popular said it was a communist plot

Oh, the newspapers came and made Jody a national hero

Walter and Eric said they’d put him on a network TV show
The White House said, “Put the thing in the blue room”
The Vatican said, “No, it belongs to Rome”
And Jody said, it’s mine but you can have it for seventeen million

Oh, it came out of the sky, landed just a little south of Moline
Jody fell out of his tractor, couldn’t believe what he seen
Laid on the ground a shakin’, fearin’ for his life
Then he ran all the way to town screamin’ it came out of the sky
Oh

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Travelin’ Band

Seven thirty-seven comin’ out of the sky
Won’t you take me down to Memphis on a midnight ride
I want to move
Playin’ in a travelin’ band

This one is a rocker and doesn’t let up. It came off of perhaps their best album Cosmo’s Factory and was released as a double A-side single with Who’ll Stop The Rain on the other side.

“Travelin’ Band” is very similar in style to the music of Little Richard, which Fogerty saw as a heartfelt tribute to the singer. Specialty Records, which owned Richard’s catalog, saw things differently and sued the band, reaching a settlement to earn some royalties from the song.

After the basic track was cut, John Fogerty went back to the studio and added many of the instrumental parts, including horns and piano, which he played himself.

Travelin’ Band/Who’ll Stop The Rain peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #4 in Canada, and #8 in the UK in 1970.

From Songfacts

Written by lead singer John Fogerty, this song is all about the hectic lifestyle of Creedence Clearwater Revival and their road warrior ways. In 1969, the band toured constantly and played many of the major festivals, including Woodstock. There was a rush of excitement in going from place to place, but as their drummer Doug Clifford explained, their baggage was constantly getting lost (“baggage gone, oh well”) and they spent a lot of time waiting around in the heat during those famous festivals. The traveling got easier for the band when they got their own private plane.

The lawsuit claimed the Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly” was being copied, but Creedence bass player Stu Cook said he thought it sounded more like “Long Tall Sally.” Cook described the song as a combination of ’50s Rock classics, but not a ripoff of any one song.

 

 

Travelin’ Band

Seven thirty seven comin’ out of the sky
Won’t you take me down to Memphis on a midnight ride
I want to move
Playin’ in a travelin’ band
Yeah
Well I’m flyin’ ‘cross the land tryin’ to get a hand
Playin’ in a travelin’ band

Take me to the hotel baggage gone, oh well
Come on, come on won’t you get me to my room
I want to move
Playin’ in a travelin’ band
Yeah
Well I’m flyin’ ‘cross the land, tryin’ to get a hand
Playin’ in a travelin’ band

Listen to the radio talkin’ ’bout the last show
Someone got excited, had to call the state militia
Want to move
Playin’ in a travelin’ band
Yeah
Well, I’m flyin’ ‘cross the land, tryin’ to get a hand
Playin’ in a travelin’ band

Here we come again on a Saturday night
With your fussin’ and your fightin’ won’t you get me to the rhyme
I want to move
Playin’ in a travelin’ band
Yeah
Well, I’m flyin’ ‘cross the land, tryin’ to get a hand
Playin’ in a travelin’ band

Playin’ in a travelin’ band
Playin’ in a travelin’ band
Won’t you give myself a hand?
Playin’ in a travelin’ band
Well, I’m flyin’ ‘cross the land, tryin’ to get a hand
Playin’ in a travelin’ band

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Long As I Can See the Light

Introgroove did a 50th-anniversary post on the great Cosmo’s Factory album and it got me thinking about this song again.  This song has a gospel feel with soul. It’s the closest thing to a love song that John wrote while still with Creedence Clearwater Revival.

It was the B side to “Looking Out My Back Door.”  This continued the great double A sided singles that they released.

Lookin’ Out My Back Door/Long As I Can See The Light peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100 and #1 in Canada in 1970.

John Fogerty:  “About the loner in me. Wanting to feel understood, needing those at home to shine a light so that I can make my way back.”

Cosmo’s Factory peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts in 1970.

Long As I Can See The Light

Put a candle in the window, ’cause I feel I’ve got to move.
Though I’m going, going, I’ll be coming home soon,
‘Long as I can see the light.

Pack my bag and let’s get movin’, ’cause I’m bound to drift a while.
When I’m gone, gone, you don’t have to worry long,
‘Long as I can see the light.

Guess I’ve got that old trav’lin’ bone, ’cause this feelin’ won’t leave me alone.
But I won’t, won’t be losin’ my way, no, no
‘Long as I can see the light.

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Oh, Yeah!

Put a candle in the window, ’cause I feel I’ve got to move.
Though I’m going, going, I’ll be coming home soon,
Long as I can see the light.
Long as I can see the light.
Long as I can see the light.
Long as I can see the light.
Long as I can see the light.

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Midnight Special

When I hear John’s voice and that tremolo on guitar I can feel the hairs on my neck rise. John’s voice was just as much of an instrument as his guitar.

In Alan Lomax’s book Folk Song USA, the Midnight Special was a real train… the Southern Pacific Golden Gate Limited. A traditional folk song, Leadbelly popularized it upon his release from Sugar Land prison in Texas, where he could hear the Midnight Special come through. In the song, the light of the train gives the inmates hope: if it shines on them they take it as a sign they will soon go free.

Midnight Special was on the album Willy and the Poorboys. The album peaked at #3 in the Billboard Album Charts. CCR’s version of Midnight Special didn’t chart. Only two versions of the song have reached the US Billboard Hot 100…one by Paul Evans in 1960 and Johnny Rivers in 1965.

 

The Midnight Special

Well, you wake up in the mornin’, you hear the work bell ring
And they march you to the table to see the same old thing
Ain’t no food upon the table, and no pork up in the pan
But you better not complain, boy, you get in trouble with the man

[Chorus:]
Let the Midnight Special shine a light on me
Let the Midnight Special shine a light on me
Let the Midnight Special shine a light on me
Let the Midnight Special shine a everlovin’ light on me

Yonder come miss Rosie, how in the world did you know?
By the way she wears her apron, and the clothes she wore
Umbrella on her shoulder, piece of paper in her hand
She come to see the gov’nor, she wants to free her man

[Chorus]

If you’re ever in Houston, well, you better do the right
You better not gamble, there, you better not fight, at all
Or the sheriff will grab ya and the boys will bring you down
The next thing you know, boy, Oh! You’re prison bound

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Have You Ever Seen The Rain

CCR is one band that crosses genres. I haven’t met many people that don’t like them. I can’t say the same for my band The Beatles, or The Stones, The Who, and others. Country fans, Metal fans, Rock fans, and bluegrass fans. It’s something about John Fogerty’s deceptively simple songs that says something to everyone.

John Fogerty did almost all the overdubs for the band until the Pendulum album when other members contributed. Pendulum is the album this song is on. Time was running out on this great band. John said this song was about the impending breakup of the band…Tom Fogerty had told the band he was quitting after the album was finished.

John’s brother Tom Fogerty quit the band after this album and CCR was then a trio. Tom’s voice was close to John’s and he felt restricted in CCR. If you want to hear what Tom sounded like…check out this post by Christian on the forgotten Forgerty brother. Creedence did release one more album after this called Mardi Gras without Tom and it has a few good songs but it’s not up to their standard.

I could tell you my feelings on this song but just listen to it today and it will make your Friday even better.

The song peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, #3 in New Zealand and #36 in the UK in 1971.

John Fogerty:  “That song is really about the impending breakup of Creedence. The imagery is, you can have a bright, beautiful, sunny day and it can be raining at the same time. The band was breaking up. I was reacting: ‘Geez, this is all getting serious right at the time when we should be having a sunny day.’”

 

From Songfacts

This song is John Fogerty’s take on the imminent departure of his brother Tom from the band, and the overall tension in the group at a time when they should have been enjoying their success. The line, “I want to know – have you ever seen the rain comin’ down on a sunny day?” refers to Tom leaving while CCR was at its commercial zenith. The flip side of this single, “Hey Tonight,” is John reassuring the band that all would go well despite the adversity.

Tom Fogerty left the group in early 1971, after this album was released. He released three solo albums before dying of tuberculosis in 1990. A fourth album, completed in 1988, was released posthumously.

According to John Fogerty, this song’s meaning changed for him over time. Introducing the song at a 2012 show in Arizona, he said: “This song was originally written about a very sad thing that was going on in my life. But I refuse to be sad now. Because now this song reminds me of my little girl, Kelsy, and every time I sing it, I think about Kelsy and rainbows.”

Fogerty added that this is his all-time favorite song, even though it’s one he wrote himself.

Musically, this song was inspired by the group Booker T. & the MG’s, whose most famous song is “Green Onions.” They opened for Creedence Clearwater Revival before CCR recorded the Pendulum album. John Fogerty loved the sound of Booker T. Jones’ Hammond organ, so he used it on some tracks for the album, including this one.

According to Stu Cook, this song and another track on the album, “Pagan Baby,” were written and rehearsed from scratch during one recording session. “Pagan Baby” was done in one take.”

This was used in the TV show Tour Of Duty, which was set in Vietnam during the war. >>

Bonnie Tyler covered this song for her 1983 blockbuster album Faster Than the Speed of Night. Her version reached #47 in the UK. >>

In 2006, Rod Stewart covered this song on his album Still the Same… Great Rock Classics of Our Time. >>

Allison Moorer covered this for her 2015 Down To Believing album. She explained why to Billboard magazine: “The record label wanted me to do a cover. I said ‘I don’t really think the record needs a cover on it,’ and we certainly have enough songs, but in the spirit of being cooperative, I said ‘OK, if you really want one, I’ll come up with something.'”

“If I was going to do a cover, it was going to be something that I had always wanted to do,” she continued. “I’m a huge Creedence fan, and that song might be my very favorite song of theirs. I’ve always thought it was the perfect country / rock song, and this record to me is a country / rock record, so I thought ‘If I’m ever going to this, this is the perfect time. I think what you hear on the record is actually the second take.”

As part of the CCR50 campaign to honor the 50th anniversary of Creedence Clearwater Revival, a video was commissioned for this song starring Jack Quaid, Sasha Frolova and Erin Moriarty as childhood friends in Montana. Directed by Laurence Jacobs, it takes a nostalgic turn when one of the friends moves away.

Willie Nelson recorded this with his daughter Paula Nelson for his duets album To All the Girls… The veteran country singer’s cover was included in the closing moments of the HBO miniseries Big Little Lies’ season 2 finale on July 21, 2019. The interest generated drove Nelson’s cover to a #36 debut on the Country chart dated August 3, 2019.

Have You Ever Seen The Rain

Someone told me long ago
There’s a calm before the storm
I know it’s been comin’ for some time
When it’s over so they say
It’ll rain a sunny day
I know shinin’ down like water

I want to know
Have you ever seen the rain?
I want to know
Have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?

Yesterday and days before
Sun is cold and rain is hard
I know been that way for all my time
‘Til forever, on it goes
Through the circle, fast and slow,
I know it can’t stop, I wonder

I want to know
Have you ever seen the rain?
I want to know
Have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?

Yeah

I want to know
Have you ever seen the rain?
I want to know
Have you ever seen the rain
Comin’ down on a sunny day?

 

 

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Down On The Corner

This is one of the first bass runs I ever learned…It was on the album Willy And The Poor Boys album.

The song was part of yet another double A-sided single paired with Fortunate Son. Down on the Corner peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100,

On the cover, the band is seen down on the corner performing to a (very) small crowd outside the Duck Kee Market. This location had no real significance except it just happened to be half a block from the recording studio. John Fogerty recalls only ever going in there one time, and that was sometime after the album’s release.

The album cover and building and below picture is recently.

Creedence Clearwater Revival in front of the Duck Kee Market in ...

From Songfacts

This song tells the story of a fictional jug band, Willy and the Poor Boys, who were street musicians “playing for nickels, can’t be beat.” The name of the jug band was also the name of CCR’s fourth straight million-selling album.

Just as The Beatles took the role of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Creedence became Willy And The Poorboys for this album. This is the only song that played to the concept, but CCR appeared on the cover as the fictional band. The Willy And The Poorboys persona suited the group, as they really were a basic, hardworking band who paid their dues before hitting it big. They sold the jug band theme by performing this song with a washtub bass and washboard.

John Fogerty did all the singing on this. He recorded a bunch of vocal tracks that were overdubbed to create the effect that he was harmonizing with himself.

The line in this song, “Willy goes into a dance and doubles on kazoo” is often misheard. A journalist named Phil Elwood thought the last part of the line was “Devil’s on the loose,” and published it in a newspaper article. John Fogerty got a big kick out of this, and as a nod to Elwood, put this line into the CCR song “Run Through the Jungle”:

They told me, “Don’t go walking slow
‘Cause Devil’s on the loose”

John Fogerty claims that bassist Stu Cook couldn’t play the bass properly for the song. “Eventually, we spent six weeks rehearsing the song, but Stu still couldn’t do it when we got to the recording session,” Fogerty says in Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music. The problem, according to the CCR frontman, was that Cook had no rhythm. This led to a tense moment in the studio, but they eventually managed to get the song down.

Down On The Corner

Early in the evenin’ just about supper time,
Over by the courthouse they’re starting to unwind.
Four kids on the corner trying to bring you up.
Willy picks a tune out and he blows it on the harp.

Down on the corner, out in the street
Willy and the Poorboys are playin’
Bring a nickel; tap your feet.

Rooster hits the washboard and people just got to smile,
Blinky, thumps the gut bass and solos for a while.
Poorboy twangs the rhythm out on his kalamazoo.
Willy goes into a dance and doubles on kazoo.

Down on the corner, out in the street
Willy and the Poorboys are playin’
Bring a nickel; tap your feet.

Down on the corner, out in the street,
Willy and the Poorboys are playin’
Bring a nickel; tap your feet.

You don’t need a penny just to hang around,
But if you’ve got a nickel, won’t you lay your money down?
Over on the corner there’s a happy noise.
People come from all around to watch the magic boy.

Down on the corner, out in the street,
Willy and the Poorboys are playin’;
Bring a nickel; tap your feet.

Down on the corner, out in the street
Willy and the Poorboys are playin’
Bring a nickel; tap your feet.

Down on the corner, out in the street
Willy and the Poorboys are playin’
Bring a nickel; tap your feet.

 

Pictures from http://www.popspotsnyc.com/creedence/

 

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Up Around The Bend

Love the beginning riff in this song. This song was the B side to Run Through The Jungle.

It was written by lead singer and guitarist John Fogerty, this is a very upbeat Creedence Clearwater Revival, giving a hint that, as bad as things were in the early ’70s, there might be some hope for the future: Things would improve “Around The Bend.” Bass player Stu Cook described the song as “Kind of the opposite of ‘Run Through The Jungle.'”

This song required a bit of translation for British audiences. In England, if you go “around the bend” it means you go crazy. Then the band toured the UK, they had to explain to the British press that the song was not about dementia or mental problems.

The song peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, #1 in New Zealand, and #3 in the UK in 1970.

 

From Songfacts

In his memoir Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music, John Fogerty said that this song came to him when he was riding his motorcycle through the California hills.

Movies this song has appeared in include Michael (1996), Remember the Titans (2000) and Invincible (2006). It was also used in a 2008 episode of the TV show My Name Is Earl. 

Elton John covered this song shortly after it was released, and his version appears on several compilation albums. Hanoi Rocks recorded it for their 1984 Two Steps From The Move album.

In 2016, Wrangler used this in a commercial for their jeans, surprising after John Fogerty lashed out at the company when they used “Fortunate Son” in ads without his permission beginning in 2000. Fogerty doesn’t control the rights to the songs he wrote for CCR, so they can be used without his consent.

Up Around The Bend

There’s a place up ahead and I’m goin’
Just as fast as my feet can fly
Come away, come away if you’re goin’
Leave the sinkin’ ship behind

Come on the risin’ wind,
We’re goin’ up around the bend

Oh

Bring a song and a smile for the banjo
Better get while the gettin’s good
Hitch a ride to the end of the highway
Where the neon’s turn to wood

Come on the risin’ wind,
We’re goin’ up around the bend

Oh

You can ponder perpetual motion,
Fix your mind on a crystal day,
Always time for a good conversation,
There’s an ear for what you say

Come on the risin’ wind,
We’re goin’ up around the bend.

Yeah

Oh

Catch a ride to the end of the highway
And we’ll meet by the big red tree,
There’s a place up ahead and I’m goin’
Come along, come along with me

Come on the risin’ wind,
We’re goin’ up around the bend

Yeah

Do do do do
Do do do do
Do do do do
Do do do do yeah
Do do do do
Do do do do

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Lodi

Every bar band who has ever played this song in hole in the wall bar… can relate to the lyrics. This song was the B-Side to Bad Moon Rising. CCR and The Beatles had the best double-sided singles of anyone in my opinion.

Lodi is a city in California located in the central valley, about 38 miles south of Sacramento and 87 miles away from Oakland. Fogerty and his earlier band (The Golliwogs) often performed in out of the way towns like Lodi.

Because of being the B side… Lodi peaked at #52 in the Billboard 100 while the A-side Bad Moon Rising peaked at #2 in 1969.

Drummer Doug Clifford on Lodi California: “There were nine people in there, they were all locals, they were all drunk and all they did all night was tell us to turn it down.”

From Songfacts

In Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music, John Fogerty explained that the inspiration for “Lodi” came from trips with his father around central California, an area of the world where he “felt very warm and special.” This seed of an idea grew into a story about a traveling musician whose career “is in the rearview mirror.” Fogerty was only 23 when he wrote this song about an aging musician.

This song is a reflection on John Fogerty’s days with The Golliwogs, an early version of Creedence Clearwater Revival. They had to struggle for success, playing wherever they could with dilapidated equipment and an often indifferent audience. He did not want a return to the Bad Old Days.

Al Wilson recorded a cover of this song. His version was issued on Soul City Records in America and on Liberty Records in the United Kingdom. It was played extensively in the few underground “Northern Soul” clubs of England during the late 1960s and early ’70s, getting its first exposure at the famous Twisted Wheel Club Allnighters in Manchester, England. 

In a radio interview, John Fogerty said when he was young his parents took him and his brother to camp at Lodi lake (called Smith lake then) and they hated camping there. So later on they wrote a song about Lodi using their old hatred for the place. 

Tesla did an acoustic version of this song that was included on their 1990 live album, Five Man Acoustical Jam. Each band member got to pick a song to cover for the set, and Tesla drummer Troy Luccketta chose “Lodi” since he was born there.

Lodi

Just about a year ago
I set out on the road
Seekin’ my fame and fortune
Lookin’ for a pot of gold
Thing got bad and things got worse
I guess you know the tune
Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again

Rode in on the Greyhound
I’ll be walkin’ out if I go
I was just passin’ through
Must be seven months or more
Ran out of time and money
Looks like they took my friends
Oh Lord, I’m stuck in Lodi again

A man from the magazine
Said I was on my way
Somewhere I lost connections
Ran out of songs to play
I came into town, a one night stand
Looks like my plans fell through
Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again

If I only had a dollar
For every song I’ve sung
Every time I had to play
While people sat there drunk
You know, I’d catch the next train
Back to where I live
Oh Lord, stuck in a Lodi again
Oh Lord, I’m stuck in a Lodi again

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Green River

One of my favorite songs by Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song peaked at #2 in the Billboard 100, #19 in the UK, and #5 in Canada. If you want proof that life isn’t fair… Green River was kept from #1 because of the novelty bubblegum song “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies.

The song is an example of a perfect rock song. Great lick, lyrics, and wonderful guitar fills by John Fogerty.

The song was on the album Green River which peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Chart.

John Fogerty: “Green River is really about this place where I used to go as a kid on Putah Creek, near Winters, California. I went there with my family every year until I was ten. Lot of happy memories there. I learned how to swim there. There was a rope hanging from the tree. Certainly dragonflies, bullfrogs. There was a little cabin we would stay in owned by a descendant of Buffalo Bill Cody. That’s the reference in the song to Cody Jr. [“Up at Cody’s camp I spent my days…”

The actual specific reference, Green River, I got from a soda pop-syrup label. You used to be able to go into a soda fountain, and they had these bottles of flavored syrup. My flavor was called Green River. It was green, lime-flavored, and they would empty some out over some ice and pour some of that soda water on it, and you had yourself a Green River.”

Image result for green river fizzy drink 50s

 

From Songfacts

John Fogerty has said that Green River is his favorite Creedence Clearwater Revival album, in part because it sounds like the ’50s albums by the likes of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash that came out of Sun Records in Memphis.

Asked about his songwriting by Mojo magazine, John Fogerty replied: “More common is me fooling around on the guitar coming up with a riff or a lick or even just a tone which sparks some kind of creativity. Your mind gets a vibe, like the lick for ‘Green River’ – that’s what it sounded like, a green river, haha. And that was a title I had carried around since I was about eight years old.”

Green River

Well, take me back down where cool water flow, yeh
Let me remember things I love
Stoppin’ at the log where catfish bite,
Walkin’ along the river road at night,
Barefoot girls dancin’ in the moonlight

I can hear the bull frog callin’ me
Wonder if my rope’s still hangin’ to the tree
Love to kick my feet way down the shallow water,
Shoe fly, dragon fly, get back t your mother
Pick up a flat rock, skip it across Green River

Up at Cody’s camp I spent my days, oh,
With flat car riders and cross-tie walkers
Old Cody, Junior took me over,
Said, you’re gonna find the world is smouldrin’
An’ if you get lost come on home to Green River
Well, come home

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son

Arguably the best song Creedence ever released. The single was Down On The Corner/Fortunate Son and the two combine peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100 in 1969. Fortunate Song also shows a #14 charting position by itself. Creedence and The Beatles released some of the best double A-Sided singles.

This is an anti-establishment song of defiance, both anti-Washington and against the Vietnam War. John Fogerty and Doug Clifford (drummer) both enlisted in the Army Reserves in 1966 (to avoid being drafted and shipped to Vietnam) and were discharged in 1968 after serving their military commitments.

 

John Fogerty: The thoughts behind this song – it was a lot of anger. So it was the Vietnam War going on… Now I was drafted and they’re making me fight, and no one has actually defined why. So this was all boiling inside of me and I sat down on the edge of my bed and out came “It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son!” You know, it took about 20 minutes to write the song

“The song speaks more to the unfairness of class than war itself,” “It’s the old saying about rich men making war and poor men having to fight them.”

 

From Songfacts

This is one of three political songs on the Willy And The Poorboys album. The others were “It Came From the Sky” and “Don’t Look Now (It Ain’t You or Me).”

Richard Nixon was president of the US when group leader John Fogerty wrote this song. Fogerty was not a fan of Nixon and felt that people close to the president were receiving preferential treatment.

This song spoke out against the war in Vietnam, but was supportive of the soldiers fighting there. Like many CCR fans, most of the soldiers came from the working class, and were there because they didn’t have connections who could get them out. The song is sung from the perspective of one of these men, who ends up fighting because he is not a “Senator’s son.”

Creedence performed this on The Ed Sullivan Show, probably because the show’s producers didn’t realize it was a protest song. The show tried hard not to offend anyone and usually had bands perform their least controversial songs or alter the lyrics for the show (see “Let’s Spend The Night Together” and “Light My Fire”).

Fogerty recorded a bunch of vocal takes for “Down On The Corner” before singing this. As a result, his voice was strained, which he thinks is apparent on the song.

This is one of those songs that came together very quickly. Fogerty recalled to American Songwriter magazine in January 2013: “When I felt it was about ready to hatch, I went into my bedroom and just sat down to write. The whole thing happened in about 20 minutes. That just poured out.”

Like Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In The U.S.A.,” this is often misinterpreted as a patriotic anthem when it is the opposite.

Wrangler jeans used this in commercials in 2000, taking only the first two lines: “Some folks are born, made to wave the flag, Ooh, that red, white and blue,” implying the patriotic misinterpretation. The next lines are: “And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief” Ooh, they’re pointin’ the cannon at you,” but those lyrics would not sell jeans very well.

John Fogerty was furious, but there was nothing he could do about it, since he didn’t own the rights to the song. Wrangler’s director of advertising responded by saying the brand heard the song as “more an ode to the common man. The common man is who we have been directing Wrangler toward.”

The ads ran through 2002, when Fogerty voiced his displeasure in a Los Angeles Times article and the company pulled the spots. Fogerty later explained that it touched a nerve because the ad distorted the meaning of the song. “If there’s some other song that was probably just a simple rock ‘n’ roll song, maybe I wouldn’t feel so strongly, but ‘Fortunate Son’ has a real point to it,” he said.

In 2016, Wrangler again turned to CCR to soundtrack a spot, this time using “Up Around the Bend.”

Fogerty does not own the publishing rights to this song. He lost them, along with all the other songs he wrote for CCR, in his contract with Fantasy Records, which the band signed when they were struggling. Fantasy’s boss at the time, Saul Zaentz, controls the rights and can use the songs any way he wants, as long as it isn’t performed by any member of CCR. Fogerty hates that his song is constantly misused, but has no choice. He expressed this frustration on his solo track “Vanz Kant Danz.”

This has been covered by U2, Bruce Springsteen, Kid Rock, Dropkick Murphys, Sleater-Kinney, Corrosion Of Conformity, Minutemen, Uncle Tupelo, Bob Seger, Circle Jerks, Joe Lynn Turner, Bunny Foot Charm, Death Cab For Cutie, Undead, Raccoon, and 38 Special.

When interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine, John Fogerty was asked: “What inspired ‘Fortunate Son’?” His response: “Julie Nixon was hanging around with David Eisenhower, and you just had the feeling that none of these people were going to be involved with the war. In 1969, the majority of the country thought morale was great among the troops, and like eighty percent of them were in favor of the war. But to some of us who were watching closely, we just knew we were headed for trouble.” 

Wyclef Jean’s slow, passionate cover of this was the theme song for the 2004 political thriller The Manchurian Candidate. Another popular political film from the summer of ’04 was the controversial documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, of which John Fogerty remarked: “With the Michael Moore movie, certain conservative talk show hosts call him un-American. Him and anybody else who says anything about the war… To question your country’s policy, especially in a war that kills people, is definitely not un-American. It’s probably the most patriotic thing you can do.” >>

This is one of the first protest songs that makes the point that it’s the poor who are most likely to fight the wars. During the Iraq war, System Of A Down covered this topic with their song “B.Y.O.B..”

Former United States president George W. Bush is often considered a “Fortunate Son,” as he reaped the benefits that came with growing up in a powerful political family, which may have helped him avoid combat. This is covered in a book called Fortunate Son. 

On November 6, 2014, Fogerty performed this at the White House as part of the A Salute to the Troops concert that was broadcast the next day on PBS ahead of Veteran’s Day. Fogerty wasn’t sure how the song would be received at an event honoring military personnel, but it got a great reaction from the crowd, including many of the veterans and President Obama.

This was featured in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump as the title character, played by Tom Hanks, is en route to serve in Vietnam.

Fortunate Son

Some folks are born
Made to wave the flag
Oh, they’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the chief”
They point the cannon right at you

It ain’t me
It ain’t me.
I ain’t no senator’s son
It ain’t me
It ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

Some folks are born
Silver spoon in hand
Lord don’t they help themselves
But when the tax man comes to the door
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale

It ain’t me
It ain’t me
I ain’t no millionaire’s son
It ain’t me
It ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

Some folks inherit
Star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war
And when you ask them
“How much should we give?”
They only answer “More! More! More!”

It ain’t me
It ain’t me
I ain’t no military son
It ain’t me
It ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one

It ain’t me
It ain’t me
I ain’t no Fortunate Son