Creedence Clearwater Revival, also known as CCR, was a band that rose to fame during the 1960s and early 1970s. Their music combined many rock styles, including country, blues, and southern rock.
While other groups at the time were singing about romantic love interests, the group’s lyrics primarily focused on political and social issues.
CCR had a rather successful career and released seven studio albums, but did they ever have a #1 hit?
Let’s jump in!
The Story of Creedence Clearwater Revival
The original members of Creedence Clearwater Revival were brothers John and Tom Fogerty, Stu Cook, and Doug Clifford. John Fogerty was the group’s lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter. Having such a strong personality and role in the group would later majorly impact the group’s dynamic.
Tom Fogerty was John Fogerty’s older brother. He played rhythm guitar for the group and had previous experience as a lead singer. John once said, “I could sing, but John had a sound!” Unfortunately, Tom received a contaminated blood transfusion, leading to his contracting AIDS. He died on September 6, 1990, with the official cause of death listed as tuberculosis.
Stu Cook was the bass guitarist for the band. After the band parted ways, he went on to join and create two albums with the Don Harrison Band. He has also spent time producing songs and albums for artists like Roky Erickson and the Aliens. He joined the group Southern Pacific for some time and would later form Creedence Clearwater Revisited in the mid-90s.
Doug Clifford was the drummer for the group. Upon the group’s split, Doug released a solo album and eventually joined Stu Cook in the Don Harrison Band. He also chose to join Stu Cook in 1995 in the creation of Creedence Clearwater Revisited to perform many of their former group’s hits.
Getting the Band Together
The members of Creedence Clearwater Revival attended El Cerrito High School simultaneously. The group started in 1959 when John Fogerty, Stu Cook, and Doug Clifford formed a trio called The Blue Velvets. Shortly after getting started, the group invited John’s older brother, Tom, to join the group.
The group would later sign with Fantasy Records, a decision they would regret. Fantasy Records controlled the group and much of the rights to their music. Fantasy Records even changed the group’s name to The Golliwogs without permission. The Golliwogs experienced minimal success.
After John Fogerty spent a brief time in the Army Reserves, the group continued to make music and perform. They had the option to change the group’s name, which they accepted. As a result, they became Creedence Clearwater Revival.
CCR’s Best-Known Songs
With a new name and renewed excitement, CCR continued making music. They quickly rose toward the top of many charts, and their songs were loved by many at the time and continue to be loved to this day. You can hear many of their songs on the radio, in movies, and video games. Let’s look at some of their best-known songs.
Have You Ever Seen the Rain
One of the most popular songs from CCR is Have You Ever Seen the Rain. John Fogerty once stated that the song touches on the group’s internal struggles and the tensions between its members.
Fogerty mentioned in an interview that the group was riding a wave of success but was still depressed and unhappy. The line “Have you ever seen the rain, coming down on a sunny day?” highlights these feelings and emotions within the group. Unfortunately, this was one of the last songs the group would write as a group of four, as Tom Fogerty left the group shortly after its release.
The CCR song Proud Mary was a single from the group released in January 1969. The song was a massive hit in the United States and made it as high as number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Ike and Tina Turner later covered the song.
The basis of the song is a worker leaving a low-paying but reliable job because of a difficult boss. The worker makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to jump on a riverboat and say goodbye to normalcy. The worker in the song finds a new life and community welcoming him on his adventure floating down the river.
The song Fortunate Son was easy for John Fogerty to write. The song describes Fogerty and many other Americans’ feelings during the Vietnam War. Fogerty’s lyrics detail the injustice that was occurring by powerful individuals to help their loved ones dodge the draft.
You can feel Fogerty’s emotions throughout the song as he sings about the system’s inequality. It became the anthem for many anti-war groups and is one of the most popular songs from CCR. The blockbuster movie Forest Gump used the song during a portion of the film that was set during the Vietnam War.
So, Has CCR Ever Had a #1 Song?
It’s no surprise that a group like CCR has had multiple top ten hits and songs on the Billboard Top 100. However, it’s shocking that none of the group’s songs ever hit #1. They have a handful of songs that made it to the second spot on the chart, but they were never king of the Billboard Top 100 when the group was together.
However, the music industry has changed quite a bit, and there are new avenues for purchasing music. As a result, CCR appeared on the Rock Digital Song Sales charts from Billboard in July 2021. The group’s song Have You Ever Seen the Rain sold more than any other rock song available for the week, making it the group’s first-ever #1 song on any Billboard music charts.
What Happened to CCR?
As was mentioned earlier, John Fogerty played several massive roles in the band. He was the lead guitarist, lead singer, and lead songwriter. As a result, Fogerty developed a controlling and demanding attitude in the group. He felt his position gave him more say in the band’s direction and that his opinion mattered more than the rest.
Tom Fogerty put up with his brother’s nonsense for some time. However, Tom was the first in the group to throw in the towel. Tom left the group in 1971, and roughly a year later, the remaining two members, Stu and Doug, had had enough of Tom and went their separate ways.
While time can heal some wounds, that’s not the case when it comes to the members of this rock group. While fans would love to see the group reunite, it’s likely not happening soon. During their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Stu and Doug were barred from the stage while John Fogerty performed with The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, and Robbie Robertson.
This left a sour taste in Doug and Stu’s mouths, and they walked out of the room just before the performance. While John has offered to reunite the group, Doug and Stu have stated multiple times that Fogerty missed the opportunity to reunite at the induction ceremony.
Reaching the Top Doesn’t Have to Mean Being #1
If fans can learn anything from CCR, it’s that you can have quite a career and still finish in second place. The group may have had to wait 50 years to reach number 1, but they finally did it. Though, they may not be popping champagne together or having a party to celebrate the achievement anytime soon.