Two significant births occurred about thirty-nine years ago, and in a curious way the two events ended up circling around and crossing paths twenty years later — and affecting my musical tastes. 1967 was the year my son came into the world – which was obviously important to me – but it was also the year that a hugely successful musical group was born. It was a quartet that combined the best features of rockabilly, swamp rock, and R&B, and at the same time mixed in a sensibility for social issues. Of course, I paid that group no attention at the time or for quite a while after, but I did gradually become aware of them. After all, they had a really catchy name.
Years later, when my son was going to grad school and living at home, he began developing eclectic tastes in music and playing it so loudly that I could hear it through his bedroom door. In some cases that did not make me happy, but when he began playing the music of this group something really strange happened — I discovered that I liked it!
In a recent posting I described some of the types of music that competed for attention in the sixties so I won’t attempt to list them again, but it was an era of almost endless varieties of sounds clamoring for their piece of the musical pie. Late in the decade four guys who had scuffled around the San Francisco music scene for several years decided to revamp their struggling band. They also renamed it, and the Golliwogs became Creedence Clearwater Revival, a smart move and surely the coolest appellation ever hung on a musical group.
CCR – as almost everyone calls them – was the creation of John and Tom Fogerty, Stu Cook, and Doug Clifford, but there’s little doubt that the driving force was always John. He ended up as lead singer and wrote virtually all their material, but unfortunately, his dominance – although deserved by his talent level – also led to resentments and the eventual drifting apart of the group. Through the years John has had some success as a solo artist, but the original group was something special and their roster of classic songs is just as dazzling today as it ever was.
I’m including a couple of samples that illustrate that unforgettable early sound, from their album Chronicle. First up is a song that I can never hear without thinking of werewolves. You heard me right — it was played as background in the early, scary part of the movie, American Werewolf In London. Of course, it’s called “Bad Moon Rising”.
My second selection is probably my favorite of all — and I defy anyone to put this on their music system, turn up the volume, and not be moved by it. Its deceptively mild name is “Green River”.
One final thought. One of CCR’s biggest hits was “Fortunate Son” — maybe that too sort of connects to my offspring.
Enjoy the music…and buy the album.