CCR, or Creedence Clearwater Revival, was an American rock band that originated in El Cerrito, California. John Fogerty was the lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and major songwriter at the outset, along with his brother Tom Fogerty on rhythm guitar, Stu Cook on bass, and Doug Clifford on drums. Before settling on Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1967, these musicians had been performing together since 1959, first as the Blue Velvets and then as the Golliwogs. The band was the first major artist signed to perform at the Woodstock event in Upstate New York in 1969. Do you want to know why did Creedence Clearwater Revival break up? To know the details start reading:
After four years of consecutive number one album sales, CCR split up bitterly in the fall of 1972. Tom Fogerty had departed the band the year before, and John had been at war with the rest of them regarding commercial and artistic authority, leading to lawsuits amongst the disbanded members.
More legal battles ensued between Fogerty and Fantasy Records owner Saul Zaentz, and the result was that Fogerty, along with the other two surviving members of Creedence, declined to play at the band’s 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Creedence Clearwater Revisited has been performing as a duo of Cook and Clifford since the 1990s, while John Fogerty has continued to perform CCR songs as part of his solo act.
Creedence Clearwater Revival History
At Portola Junior High in El Cerrito, California, John Fogerty, Doug Clifford, and Stu Cook became friends. John’s older brother Tom had already been supported by a trio under the moniker the Blue Velvets on recordings and live performances before John joined the band.
Casey Kasem, who worked at KEWB in Oakland, heard the band for the first time when they had already issued three singles. They inked a deal with San Francisco’s indie jazz label Fantasy Records in 1964. The label’s national success with Vince Guaraldi’s rendition of “Cast Your Fate to the Wind” enticed the band to sign with the company.
It was with The Blue Ridge Rangers, a 1973 album of solo country and gospel songs by John Fogerty, that he launched his successful solo career. But Fogerty owed Fantasy eight more albums per his original CCR contract. As a result, he decided not to sign with the record company. David Geffen of Asylum Records finally broke the standoff by purchasing Fogerty’s contract for $1 million.
Narrated by Jeff Bridges,‘Travelin’ Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall’, documents the band’s legendary two-night run at the historic UK venue and is now streaming on Netflix beginning today! pic.twitter.com/rhqoGKaSWd
— Creedence Clearwater Revival (@TheOfficialCCR) September 16, 2022
John Fogerty, the only album of his to be released by Asylum, came out in 1975. Centerfield, his next #1 hit, topped the charts in 1985. However, in 1986 Fogerty had vocal troubles on a tour that he blamed on having to testify in court and received complaints from fans because he refused to sing any CCR songs. Fogerty claimed that he didn’t play any CCR songs because doing so would have required him to pay performance royalties to Zaentz, who owned the copyright to those songs, and because it was “too difficult” to relive the music of his past.
Despite winning a slander action brought by Zaentz over the songs “Mr. Greed” and “Zanz Kant Danz,” Fogerty did settle the case. Because of this, Fogerty had to go back and change the reference to “Zanz” to “Vanz” in the recording.
Tom Fogerty has put out a number of solo albums, but none of them have been as successful as CCR’s. In 1974, he released his solo debut, Zephyr National. It was the last album to feature the original four members of CCR. Although John Fogerty recorded his part individually, several tracks sound very much like the CCR approach, especially the appropriately titled “Joyful Resurrection,” on which all four members played.
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Doug Clifford and Stu Cook
After the breakup of CCR, Doug Clifford and Stu Cook, who had been friends since junior high, continued to play music together, first as session musicians and later as members of the Don Harrison Band. Factory Productions, a Bay Area mobile recording studio, was also formed by the duo. In 1972, Clifford put out his first solo album, titled Cosmo. Cook was the bass player for the successful 1980s country band Southern Pacific and produced the album The Evil One by singer Roky Erickson.
Former Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados frontman Doug Sahm collaborated with Clifford to create Groovers Paradise. The album was released in 1974 by Warner Bros. and featured contributions from both Clifford and Cook. By the end of the 1980s, Clifford was still playing and recording with Sahm.
After their breakup, the original members of CCR rarely got back together. Tom’s 1974 album Myopia features all four members, and his 1980 wedding on October 19 also features all four. Twenty years after graduating from El Cerrito High School, John, Cook, and Clifford reunited in 1983 to perform as the Blue Velvets at the school’s reunion. New lawsuits filed in the 1980s and 1990s between band members and against their old management only served to further inflame tensions.
At the 1993 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, John flatly refused to share the stage with Cook and Clifford. Their access to the stage was restricted while John performed with a star-studded ensemble that included Bruce Springsteen and Robbie Robertson. Tricia, Tom’s wife, planned on attending the reunion with the urn carrying her husband’s ashes since she knew it would happen.
Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Legacy
When asked to choose their top 100 artists, Rolling Stone placed CCR at number 82. Green River was ranked #95, Cosmo’s Factory #265, and Willy and the Poor Boys #392 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list in 2003. In addition, “Fortunate Son,” “Proud Mary,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” and “Bad Moon Rising” were all ranked in the top 200 by Rolling Stone in 2004’s edition of their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
They are the 61st most acclaimed musician in the annals of popular music, as ranked by Acclaimed Music. The Library of Congress recognized the “cultural, historical, or artistic significance” of “Fortunate Son” in 2013 by adding it to the National Recording Registry.
Why Did Creedence Clearwater Revival Break Up?
In 1972, Creedence Clearwater Revival was about as dysfunctional and divided as any band you could name. Creedence, who once led the way in popular music, was now irreparably broken apart. Tom Fogerty, the band’s guitarist, had left the previous year, and Stu Cook, the bassist, and Doug Clifford, the drummer, were tired of lead vocalist John Fogerty’s autocratic leadership style. What transpired after that is debatable depending on whose side you ask, but the end outcome was a catastrophe.
If you ask Fogerty, he’ll tell you that Cook and Clifford insisted on having a say in the making of the band’s upcoming record, something they hadn’t done or asked for on any of the group’s previous albums. Cook and Clifford claim that all they sought was a bigger voice in the band’s decisions and a chance to make a bigger impact before being pushed into roles for which they were unprepared by Fogerty, who they accuse of trying to sink Creedence Clearwater Revival. Both accounts seem to have some basis in reality, but regardless of the facts, the public received Mardi Gras.
Which CCR lyrics speak to you most? pic.twitter.com/FTYezrlyeG
— Creedence Clearwater Revival (@TheOfficialCCR) September 23, 2022
There are ten tracks on Mardi Gras; Fogerty sings four, while Cook and Clifford take turns on the other six. The songs by Fogerty are reliable but not very memorable. While the Everly Brothers’ rendition of “Hello Mary Lou” and album opener “Looking For a Reason” are both uninspiring contributions to the band’s discography, “Someday Never Comes” is a beautiful late-period CCR tune, and “Sweet Hitch-Hiker” is joyful and raucous in their characteristic way. In general, Fogerty’s playing on the record reveals the fact that he was clearly stoned at the time.
Not much about Mardi Gras is entertaining, but it is interesting to hear the band members openly talking trash about one another in the songs. In other words, in a handful of Cook’s songs, he explicitly insults Fogerty. Both “Pick It Like a Friend” and “Sail Away” are veiled attacks on John Fogerty; they come across as the bitterest, pettiest writings by an author whose side you can’t take because the songs are so horrible. It would be one thing if Cook had catchy tunes to carry those criticisms, but the fact that he nearly coughs up a lung trying to get his remarks out is not encouraging.
It’s possible that Mardi Gras is the worst album ever released by a professional rock band, with its shoddy musicianship, weird song order, and deliberate attempts to undermine itself. This makes it seem like Cook and Clifford were speaking the truth when they said they were put in this position against their will so that Fogerty could leave the band. Of course, Fogerty was able to break free, but not before his solo career was derailed for nearly a decade by a lawsuit filed by his former label chief. Creedence Clearwater Revisited, the band that Cook and Clifford formed, now happily performs in mediocre casinos.
In spite of being in a band together for half a century, the surviving members of the band (Tom Fogerty died in 1990), nevertheless have a deep-seated animosity for one another. There won’t be any special anniversary editions of Mardi Gras to honor the album’s 50th birthday next April. Mardi Gras was a last-ditch, ill-advised effort to preserve a doomed group. The end result is embarrassing for the Creedence Clearwater Revival moniker, and everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves regardless of how good a singer or songwriter they are.
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