In a sense, a huge chapter in American rock history ended in the spring of 1972. Creedence Clearwater Revivalentered the Billboard LP chart with their seventh studio release, Mardi Gras. Within six months of its appearance, CCR were no more.
The final set, recorded that January, was something of an unfortunate and unhappy postscript in the hugely successful Creedence story. Tom Fogerty had left the band after internal disputes following their 1970 million-seller Pendulum. That left a three-piece line-up in which his brother John was now joined for lead vocal, songwriting and production duties by both bassist and rhythm guitarist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford.
The exception was a cover of the Gene Pitney co-write that had become a big hit for Ricky Nelson way back in 1961, “Hello Mary Lou.” It was a part of the rock‘n’roll upbringing of all three CCR members, each aged 16 when it was all over the radio.
Fogerty takes a back seat
John Fogerty, previously the band’s principal songwriter, only contributed three numbers to Mardi Gras. The album met with considerably less success and acclaim than its predecessors. “Lookin’ For A Reason” had John in country mood, introducing an LP with quite a strong country-rock feel.
But audiences didn’t warm as much to a sound that was inevitably less familiar on tracks not featuring Fogerty’s distinctively raucous lead vocals. That was apart from “Sweet Hitch-Hiker,” released as a singlein 1971 and another US Top 10 hit, which was then included on Mardi Gras.
The album entered the US chart on April 29, 1972 at No.63. It would climb as high as No.12 in a 24-week stay, winning gold certification. By October, the band had announced their split. But within a few weeks of that, they were back in the charts with a Creedence Gold compilation that advanced to US sales alone of two million.