The Tragedy Of Creedence Clearwater Revival

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Creedence Clearwater Revival, previously known as the Blue Velvets, and later The Golliwogs was an American rock band that is one of the most loved bands in the world. Creedence Clearwater Revival or CCR is on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists on Rolling Stones and had undoubtedly a great impact on Rock culture.

John Fogerty, Doug Clifford, and Stu Cook attended the same school called Portola Junior High School in El Cerrito, California and the band first took shape there. It was called The Blue Velvets and after shuffling around a bib, they came up with their name Creedence Clearwater Revival. By then, John’s brother Tom had also joined the band for jamming and recording sessions.

Successful Era

With the release of their self-titled studio album on May 28, 1968, the band went on to celebrate their success and started to prove to everyone that they are great instrumentalists. They worked on Swamp rock, blues, and country tunes and were loved by everyone. This made them the hottest American band from 1961 to 1972 until their disbandment.

CCR was a very popular band back then after their very first album. It was followed by a second album titled, ‘Bayou Country’ on January 5, 1969. It was critically acclaimed and topped the charts worldwide. The album was also followed by other things such as massive tours and albums. CCR went on to release 3 albums in 1969 alone. The band’s performance at the 1969 Woodstock festival in Upstate New York was the first act signed to appear there. In a short span of their band, they created some of the most iconic songs and recreated some classic songs with the covers.

John and Dough were drafted into the army

Also, John and Doug were drafted into the army. According to Song Meanings and Facts, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s famous anti-war tune “Fortunate Son” is from the perspective of youths who cannot evade the US draft. Fogerty signed on to the US Army Reserves and worked as a supply clerk. He also told that the Vietnam War was not popular with his countrymen. This was all before the band, and he said his experience led him to write many of his famous songs.

John’s leadership

Later on, primary songwriter, John Fogerty declared himself as the man in charge. He was the one who would determine the musical style of CCR. They were very successful commercially and also, were very famous. The success of the band went on even during their tumultuous times. John was in charge and his uncompromising leadership went on to create problems within the band. He had wild control over the band and was an autocrat. Dough went on to say, “Things were getting very difficult in the business arena. It was taking a toll on John, it was taking a toll on us because we weren’t involved in these meetings and we weren’t getting information back from John.”

Tom’s Departure

In the January of 1971, Tom announced that he was leaving CCR. According to Doug Clifford in an interview with Uncut, he said, “Tom had put up with a lot of sh*t from John. […] He didn’t want Tom to succeed.”

John also had something to say about it, and said, “The best I can say in Tom’s case is he was the older brother and the younger brother had a lot more talent, therefore he was jealous even to a greater degree than the other two in Creedence Clearwater Revival,” according to The Guardian.

Tom, later on, said that there was no bad blood and he wanted to develop his own talent. He said, “It wasn’t planned.”


After Tom Fogerty left the band, CCR went on as a trio and each member had the right to write, record, and sing their work. They worked and created CCR’s seventh studio album ‘Mardi Gras’ which was the most disappointing one. It was released on April 11, 1972. It didn’t create the usual critical and commercial success.

There was a lack of quality and unity and was a disappointment for the fans. The Band performed their last tour and announced their breakup the same year.

Hall of Fame

This was a very different induction ceremony. It was a ceremony filled with bitter emotions between the three members. John Fogerty refused to share the stage with Stu Cook and Dough Clifford. He performed the songs wither other rock musicians while the other two members had to watch.

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