Creedence Clearwater Revival

            Not too far removed from the bulk of the subgenre known as southern rock is the more specific subgenre of swamp rock. Anyone interested in swamp rock or roots rock would do best to seek out Creedence Clearwater Revival, although most have probably heard at least one or two of their songs before. Lead singer and guitarist John Fogerty ensured the band’s longstanding legacy with his unique vocal stylings, and his brother Tom Fogerty solidified the foundation laid by John with his superb rhythm guitar performances. Stu Cook’s bass lines and Doug Clifford’s drums further the impressive rhythms of the band’s music, adding a mixture of blues and rock to every song regardless of tempo.

Some of the band’s most popular numbers include “Green River” and “Born on the Bayou,” which are particularly adept at encapsulating the spirit of swamp rock with lyrics that actually describe the bayous of southern America as well as other aspects of southern culture. Then there are their particularly energetic songs, such as “Sinister Purpose” and “Fortunate Son.” Of course, some of their catchier and more memorable songs are “Who’ll Stop the Rain” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” both of which are long-lasting hits to this day. They also ventured into soul every once in a while, such as they did with “Long As I Can See the Light.”

Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of the few bands of the 1960s and 1970s that focused primarily on their music rather than on developing rock star personalities. There were elements of southern tradition in their music, yet they were not completely removed from youth culture. In many ways, they were the swamp rock version of Booker T. and the MGs, a band that knew how to lay down solid instrumental tracks that showed restraint when needed and yet still had an element of fast-paced rock and roll. In fact, the band even paid tribute to Booker T. and his band (who they had played with before) by incorporating a Hammond B3 Organ into the music of “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.”

They weren’t afraid to play the occasional cover song, either. They recorded the famous Louisiana rockabilly song “Suzie Q” on their first album in 1968, as well as the rock and roll hit “I Put a Spell on You.” Their last album even included “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” which was most well-known for its previous recording by Marvin Gaye. However, no number of covers they performed could distract from the success of their original songs such as “Bad Moon Rising,” “Down on the Corner,” and “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.”

The band only lasted a few years, breaking up in 1972. Even so, they recorded more classics in that time than most other bands ever could have. While the band has had reunions with some of their members, their full lineup has not played a public event since Tom Fogerty’s wedding in 1980. Since his death, the band has not played together at all, although John Fogerty has hinted that he may be open to a true reunion with Stu Cook and Doug Clifford sometime in the future.

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