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Creedence Trivia File

Here is a compilation of miscellaneous trivia facts about CCR, their recording sessions, stories of the origins of the songs etc. The information is based on various sources, some of which is first-hand.

Established in March 1996, this is the original CCR FAQ/Trivia page on the Internet.

A. Recording sessions

How was the early Creedence sound generated?
JOHN FOGERTY: "I knew I needed to work on arranging the band so that the band would sound professional, mysterious and also have their own definition. So the song I chose was "Suzy Q." Since that was already a pretty funky, cool, rock & roll song, I just kind of messed around with the arrangement but keeping the original essence that Dale Hawkins had. "Suzy Q" and "I Put A Spell On You" were both sort of new blendings of the worlds between pop, rock & roll, R&B and a slight amount of country in there. I knew we were into something kind of original, kind of new. We rehearsed "Suzy Q" every day for months. We played a 10,12 minute version every time, just to try and get that feel of the groove and come up with that cohesiveness that was really above us at the time. (in Addicted To Noise, May 3, 1997)


VH1: Legends. Scan by Bruno Berthold.

How many takes did you need to finish a track?
STU COOK: "We were prepared when we reached the studio, so 3-5 takes per track was common. Sometimes the track was recorded in 1-2 takes. 'Wrote a Song for Everyone' took a few more than average. We tracked all of the songs together as a live band." (in Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

How many weeks did you work for the "Pendulum" album?
STU COOK: "We spent a month on 'Pendulum' instead of two weeks. More keyboards, and John's attempt at horns added up the hours. We were looking for a bit less of a roar and more instrument definition. I feel it was too far that direction, though. "Pagan Baby" and "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" were written and rehearsed on the spot during the course of one of the sessions. To me "Pagan Baby" sounds just like a live cut. In fact it only took us an hour to learn and we did it in just one take." (in New Musical Express 1/30/71 and Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

Whose idea was "Mardi Gras"?
STU COOK: "After a 1971 CCR concert in San Diego Fogerty announced to Clifford and me that the next Creedence album would be written, and sung equally by all three remaining band members. We protested that an album recorded under those terms wouldn't qualify as a Creedence album, and that the fans would reject it, period. Fogerty told us that if we didn't do it his way he'd quit immediately. John even refused to play lead guitar, piano, etc. on Doug or my tracks. I believe I played most all of the overdubs. Perhaps we should've called his hand then. Doug and I have never been quitters, though. We thought that by hanging in there perhaps we could still turn the situation around and save our band." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

How did you capture the cajun vibe in your recordings?
STU COOK: "We wouldn't have known a "cajun vibe" if it had stopped to talk to us. None of us had ever been to Louisiana or the bayou in our lives. John adopted the Mississippi river concept and we just ran with it. Our musical influences are blues, country, and the early rock and roll artists (Elvis, Fats, Little Richard, Ricky, Jerry Lee, etc.)." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

How many tracks did you use in the recording sessions?
STU COOK: "The first couple of albums were eight track. My fading memory is telling me that from 'Green River' on they were 16 track. All the Wally Heider (SF) sessions were 16 track. He had just purchased the 16 track (3M Model 56) machines." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

Did the band ever consider getting a horn section in on some of the tracks? I always thought "Tombstone" and "Call It Pretending" cried out for the Muscle Shoals horns or similar.
STU COOK: "Not really. John was sure he was at least as good as any section available. We had the Tower of Power open for us on one of our last US tours. There's a section!" (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

Did John Fogerty recut other members' parts, as often rumoured?
JOHN FOGERTY: "Probably 99% of the tracks we did as a quartet are played live with all four guys playing at the same time. I've heard the rumor over the years that 'after they left the studio, John went in and re-recorded the parts.' No. I think the charm of what you hear on those records is four guys really playing." (in Rolling Stone, February 4, 1993)
STU COOK: "This again? When these rumours started I went back and listened to the CCR tracks. He didn't replace Cosmo or Stu. From what I read here John can't make up his mind about the issue." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

Are there any unissued CCR songs in the vaults of Fantasy Records?
DOUG CLIFFORD:"There exists no unreleased songs. We only registrated the needed material for the album and these were recorded systematically. There were a few live radioshows, in addition there are seven or eight Christmas songs which we registered in 1969." (in French magazine Rocksounds 7/1994, via Creedence Clearwater Revival fan club bulletin #45)
STU COOK: "There may be up to four unfinished tracks in the vault. I believe these were recorded when CCR was demoing Wally Heider's studio in San Francisco. My recollection is that they have no vocals/solos. As such, there is little likelyhood that they will ever be heard other than as bootlegs." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

B. Back stories of the songs

Who wrote "Porterville"? On the Japanese copy of "The Golliwogs - Pre-Creedence", it lists all four band members as writing it, but on the first Creedence album, it's down to just John. Is this a misprint?
STU COOK: "John shared his songwriting royalties with the band on the first couple of LPs as a payback for the sacrifices everyone made to keep the band finacially above water before 'Suzie Q' hit the charts. I don't know what the label copy states in foreign markets, or in the US, for that matter." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

What are the rhymes in the latter part of "Suzie Q"?
STU COOK: "They were just simple rhymes. John hated it when songwriters used simple rhymes just to make things rhyme, so this was a statement against that. It was sort of anti-Dylan." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

What's the story of "Born on the Bayou"?
JOHN FOGERTY: "With that one, the feeling and everything was there first. We were on the stage at soundcheck at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco. I just started going into the lick, and I told Tom [Fogerty] to just keep hitting the E over and over. And I just started screaming syllables, which I do a lot when I write, just screaming sounds without any words. I worked the whole song without lyrics right there. It took a couple of weeks to finish the song. I was writing many songs at once then, in 1968, for the "Bayou Country" album. I was writing these at night, and I remember that Bobby Kennedy got killed during this time. I saw that late at night, live, and all night, because I had the TV on, they kept showing it over and over. "Bayou" and "Proud Mary" and "Chooglin" were all cooking at that time. I'd say that that was when the whole swamp bayou myth was born - right there in a little apartment in El Cerrito. I remember that I thought it would be cool if these songs crossed-referenced each other. Once I was doing that I realized that I was kind of working on a mythical place. (in Musician 11/1997)

"Proud Mary"?
JOHN FOGERTY: "It was written over a period of months. I got my honorable discharge, and it so elated me that I did a couple of cartwheels across the lawn and then ran into the apartment, picked up my guitar and looked at my notes. For some reason, the song from four or five different places all kind of went 'boom' and happened. But there had been months of work leading up to that. I finally realized I wasn't writing three songs; I was writing one song. I was sitting in my little apartment, so I was totally removed from context. I was playing with the chord changes that make up the intro, and I had this little book of song titles that I had started. I still have the book, and I'm still adding to it. The very first one in the book is "Proud Mary." At the time, I had no idea what "Proud Mary" was. I thought that maybe she was a real person. Sometime, weeks or months later, I was fooling with the chord changes and started singing about the river. I realized, "Well, maybe if I make it about the boat." Then I thought, "Gee, that's sort of dumb, isn't it?" Then I started thinking, "What do I call the boat?" Well it sounded like you could call a boat "Proud Mary," like the "U.S.S. Invincible," or something. It kind of sounded like that, so that's what I did. When the "rolling, rolling on the river" part came to me, I thought, "Oh my God!" I'm a big fan of Stephen Foster and old Disney family movies from the '50s. It just felt like I had landed in Tin Pan Alley. [Laughs] It was like, "This is way better than me." It was like the first really good song that I ever wrote." (Mix 10/1997)

Where did the opening riff of "Proud Mary" come?
JOHN FOGERTY: "I don't know where the germ started. I can kind of remember writing the chords at the beginning of the song. Believe it or not, I was playing around with the famous riff from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. I used to tell people that the song sounds like what it's about. I thought, by the way, that the opening riff sounded just like the wheel at the back of a boat. "Proud Mary" is not a side-wheeler, it's a stern-wheeler. (Guitar Player 8/1998)

What is "chooglin'"?
STU COOK: ""Chooglin'" is havin a 'ball', as in 'Good Golly Miss Molly, sure like to...' More loosely, a good time." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

Where is Green River?
TOM FOGERTY: "There was this place in northern California where we'd go every summer called Putah Creek. There was this really great creek where we'd go swimming and all. Everything mentioned in that song is real and actually happened. There really was a place called Cody's Camp. John changed the name to 'Green River' because it was much more musical." (in a radio interview 1975)

"Commotion?"
JOHN FOGERTY: "It was inspired by New York City. I feel that I have captured the intensity of all the rushing about that goes on in that metropolis." (in New Musical Express 1970)

What inspired "Fortunate Son"?
JOHN FOGERTY: "Julie Nixon was hanging around with David Eisenhower. And you just had the feeling that none of these people were going to be involved with the war. In 1969, the majority of the country thought morale was great among the troops, and like eighty percent of them were in favor of the war. But to some of us who were watching closely, we just knew we were headed for trouble." (in Rolling Stone)

Were "Down On The Corner" and "Fortunate Son" sung in the same session?
JOHN FOGERTY: "I think I sang 'Down on the Corner' first. I did all the background parts and then the lead. So by the time I got to 'Fortunate Son', my voice was a little suspect. I can hear it. It's not quite as powerful - it's a little flat all the way through." (in Rolling Stone)

"Before You Accuse Me"?
JOHN FOGERTY: "It's a song we used to do in our bar act as the Golliwogs. We recorded it for our first album, but I cut it out. I was disappointed in the sound, but knew that it would come sooner or later. Instrumentally the arrangement is further from the original than the others [on "Cosmo's Factory"], but the song as a total sound still follows the same pattern as Bo Diddley's." (in New Musical Express 1970)

Was "Run Through the Jungle" about Vietnam War?
JOHN FOGERTY: "I think a lot of people thought that because of the times, but I was talking about America and the proliferation of guns, registered and otherwise. I'm a hunter and I'm not anti-gun, but I just thought that people were so gun-happy--and there were so many guns uncontrolled-that it really was dangerous, and its even worse now. It's interesting that it has taken 20-odd years to get a movement on that position." (in Los Angeles Times 1993)

How was the intro of "Run to the Jungle" recorded?
STU COOK: "Lot's of backwards recorded guitar and piano. (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

Does "Who'll Stop The Rain" contain lyrically specific meanings besides the symbolic dimension?
JOHN FOGERTY: "Certainly, I was talking about Washington when I wrote the song, but I remember bringing the master version of the song home and playing it. My son Josh was four years old at the time, and after he heard it, he said, 'Daddy stop the rain.' And my wife and I looked at each other and said, 'Well, not quite.'" (in Rolling Stone)

"I Heard It Through The Grapevine"?
JOHN FOGERTY: "I really like the lyrics and the chord progressions and I have been toying with the song for about a year on my own. The instrumental part of it was mostly studio conceived. I just let the tape run. We had no idea it would be over 10 minutes until it was all done." (in New Musical Express 1970)

Is "Someday Never Comes" autobiographical?
JOHN FOGERTY: "Every parent tells their child "someday". "Gee daddy, can we go fishing" ... "Yeah, someday". My parents divorced when I was young and I ended up divorcing from my first wife ... The song is basically me talking about ... here it happened to me when I was young and here I go doing the same damn thing. It's sad. I wanted to express what a kid feels, "Someday Never Comes." I wished we had played the music a little stronger, I wishe I really would have gotten what I wanted." (in the CCR documentary by Kjell Ekholm, FST/YLE 1994)

What is the "Greasy King" of "Sweet Hitchiker" ("we could make music at the Greasy King...")?
STU COOK: The Greasy King was the nickname for the local burger stand near Cosmo's Factory, Berkeley, CA. (CCR Fan Club's Internet mailing list 1997)

C. Concerts, tours

Did all of your gigs last 45 minutes?
STU COOK: "I doubt we played longer than 50 minutes. We play 100 minutes now (Creedence Clearwater Revisited). One night at the Filmore West we played 17 encores. The next day Bill Graham gave us each a gold watch and told us to retire, that we'd never top it. We played most of the set over again." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

Why did you play so few encores?
STU COOK: "CCR never played more than 45-50 minutes. One night in the dressing room with the audience going wild Fogerty told us encores were "phoney", and in spite of the rest of the band's strong objections, we never played another one." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

What was your concert closer before 'Keep On Chooglin''?
STU COOK: "'Suzie Q' was the finale." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

What did you play to fill the concert set when the first album was behind?
STU COOK: "Mostly old R&B tunes. If we were playing a party we'd play some Stones, whatever it took to make it through the night. (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

Why didn't Creedence show up in the original Woodstock movie and album?
JOHN FOGERTY: "We didn't do very well at Woodstock because of the time segment and also because we followed the Grateful Dead, therefore everybody was asleep...It seemed like we didn't go on until 2:00 am. The Dead went on and pulled their usual shenanigans...Even though in my mind we made the leap into superstardom that weekend, you'd never know it from the footage. All that does is show us in a poor light at a time when we were the number one band in the world. Why should we show ourselves that way? So I prevailed." (in Goldmine, 7/3/98)

The 1994 re-issue of the Woodstock album contains four Creedence songs that were missing in the original set and film. What's the story behind that?
STU COOK: "CCR was never included in the original Woodstock film or album. CCR was approached by the director of the Woodstock anniversary re-release to be included in the new film. John refused and Warner Bros. Pictures refused to proceed because of possible legal problems. As a result Doug and I opted to include the four tracks on the Woodstock box set. We felt that the fans should know that CCR was part of the event, and played a pretty hot set, too." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

What was Shit Kicker Three?
STU COOK: "It was our country alter ego band. I believe it started after Tom left. The 'Shit Kicker Three from Room 73' is named after a hotel room in Manchester, England, I think. John on pedal steel, Doug on a practice drum set, and me on guitar. Lot's of Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Jimmie Rodgers, etc. We'd come back to the hotel after a show and play country music and drink all night. Some fun, huh? " (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

D. Cover artworks

Where were the photos for the "Green River" album shot?
STU COOK: "Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley, California." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

Where was the cover photo of "Willy & the Poorboys" taken?
STU COOK: "The photo was at the Duck Kee Market. It's a couple of blocks from the original location of Fantasy Records. Basically a slum neighborhood. I'm told people make 'pilgrimages' to the market location. Go figure." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

Who is the lady in the front cover of "Mardi Gras"?
STU COOK: "She's a relative of Jake Rohrer. Jake worked for CCR." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

What is the Gort on the cover of "Mardi Gras"? Does it symbolize Tom's departure?
STU COOK: "CCR's company was called Gort Functions. Gort's the robot in the great Sci Fi film "The Day the Earth Stood Still". It was one of our personal favorites. Nothing to do with TF leaving." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

E. General trivia

Who was Rooster? On Willy..."Rooster played the washboard?", and John seemed to be calling Rooster at the start of "Poorboy Shuffle".
STU COOK: "Cosmo is Rooster. I'm Blinky. Tom's Poorboy. John's Willy." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

Which of the regular albums sold most?
STU COOK: "'Cosmos's Factory' is the biggest seller at this point." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

In which foreign countries CCR's music is most popular?
STU COOK: "Germany and Sweden are by far our biggest foreign sales markets. Then Mexico. The UK never was a big market. The pop music scene is too fickle." (Bayou Moon Internet mailing list 1996)

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