The timeless tunes of Creedence Clearwater Revival

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Staff column 12-24-14


The timeless tunes of CCR

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By Dart Spiers


There’s never a bad time to listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the recent extreme weather patterns that have taken us from “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” to “Who’ll Stop the Rain” served as a great excuse to turn on their greatest hits album.

It’s an impressive collection of songs from one of the most prolific rock bands ever. A staple of the classic rock genre, CCR has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was ranked number 82 on Rolling Stones’ 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time list. Their music has been an ever-present fixture in my life since I was old enough to know what music was.

I spent many a long solo drive in my truck trying to sing like John Fogerty, but his voice has a wholly unique quality that is impossible to imitate. Songs like “Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Susie Q” capture the “jam” aspect of rock and roll perfectly, but it’s the versatility and depth of CCR that have always stood out to me.

Listening to one of their more soulful songs like “Long As I Can See the Light” gave me an entirely different perspective of the group. If it weren’t for Fogerty’s unmistakable vocals, then I wouldn’t have realized I was listening to the same band.

The cultural significance of “Fortunate Son” is undeniable, and for that reason I view it as CCR’s greatest work. The lyrics spoke out against institutional nepotism, particularly in times of war when military service was not optional unless you had a famous last name. It has been called a “protest song,” but I think that term misses the mark. I see it as an anthem sung for those who were unable to sing for themselves. “Fortunate Son” was added to the United States Library of Congress in 2013, which is an impressive accomplishment for CCR, especially when considering that Fogerty claims to have written the entire song in about 20 minutes.

Of all the recognition and awards Creedence Clearwater Revival received over the years, the group never had a Billboard number one hit despite reaching the number two spot on five separate occasions.

It will serve as little consolation to them now, but they’ll be the number one band played in my truck on my way home for Christmas.