‘Willy And The Poor Boys’: Creedence See Out The 1960s In Style

Late in 1969, CCR closed out the decade on brilliant form as they released their fourth album.

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Creedence Clearwater Revival ‘Willy and the Poor Boys’ artwork - Courtesy: UMG
Creedence Clearwater Revival ‘Willy and the Poor Boys’ artwork - Courtesy: UMG

Could you imagine a modern-day band releasing three studio albums in ten months and seeing each of them later be certified at least platinum? That was the incredible pace that Creedence Clearwater Revival were setting at the end of the 1960s. Late in 1969, they completed the sequence, and saw out the decade, as they released their fourth album Willy and the Poor Boys, issued on November 2, 1969.

Produced by lead singer and writer John Fogerty, this was the record that featured such CCR classics as “Down On The Corner,” “Fortunate Son,” and the band’s versions of Leadbelly’s “Cotton Fields” and the traditional, much-covered “Midnight Special.” Indeed, “Down On The Corner” contained the lyric that gave the album its title (“down on the corner, out in the street, Willy and the Poor Boys are playin’/Bring a nickel, tap your feet”).

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son (Official Lyric Video)

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This was also, effectively, two great bands for the price of one. The album featured additional instrumentation by Booker T. Jones and the rest of the MGs, Steve Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn and Al Jackson. It was a measure of CCR’s pre-eminence by 1969 that it was something of a disappointment that the album “only” reached No.3 in the US, staying there for no fewer than six weeks, and “only” went double platinum. Its predecessor a few months earlier, Green River, had four weeks at No.1 and went triple platinum in the US.

Listen to the best of Creedence Clearwater Revival on Apple Music and Spotify.

As Willy and the Poor Boys started its journey, charting on December 13, “Down On The Corner” was released as a US single with “Fortunate Son” listed as its double A-side. As often for Creedence, both sides were hits, “Corner” reaching No.3 and “Son” No.14. The album itself was a big international success, too, going to the top of the French chart and, the following spring, becoming the band’s first UK Top 10 album, at No.10.

Buy the half-speed master edition of Willy and the Poor Boys.



  1. Tom Joad

    November 4, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Unfortunately, the band saw very little money for all that success, as their manager stole the song rights and robbed them blind. Later, when Foggerty was sued for supposed plagiarism of Run Through the Jungle, an indignant judge ruled that an artist can not plagiarize his own work.

  2. Jenni Holland

    November 3, 2015 at 8:49 am

    I’ve been a Creedence/JohnFogerty fan all my life. Introduced to them by Peter Blackburn of Orange. My children have all been bought up on Creedence music.
    First saw them at the SCC in 1972 and have seen John in concert 5times. He is awesome.
    I am reading his autobiography at the moment.
    All the very best to John. He has been so badly ripped off.

  3. Jerrij Bobelli

    November 6, 2015 at 2:59 am

    They mesmerize the music scene they might have not ended as bad with strong mighty faith they can still regain the dignity they brought to the music scene even as far back as the 60’s . Met John at Fantasy Studios I was around 19 , 20yrs of age , He was a real guy who was very approachable kind and considerate . I was having George Horn do my first ever masters for California Flight single California Flight. . I never knew John Folgerty but when I listen to his music he brought me out of a shell. He as pure Honky Tonk Rock , he a bad boy I knew he was going to make it . Sad to see so many great artist like John CCR get rip off my crooks who did not really appreciate the integrity . Thank why I never ever sign a recording deal . Its a back side blind rip off for artists and easy prey for music managers who intent is to make your money their.s But with faith will help make them even better.

    We are determine to be the first to support the history in the new Media New System the new loyalty of music and entertainment why. Its time… CCR is the bay area rock tragedy like Sly and the Family stones and many many others who were taken advantage of.

  4. Lloyd Rabey

    November 3, 2016 at 2:47 am

    I remember playing a washboard a few times too. I knew them too.

  5. Ray

    November 3, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Swamp music at its VERY best!!

  6. Dave

    November 2, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    I had no idea that this was 48 years ago…. seemed later to me like 71-72 but I do remember having the album! CCR fan forever.

  7. Kay Thomas

    February 22, 2023 at 9:07 pm

    Does anyone have this album with the official lyrics included? I keep seeing lyrics for Effigy on websites that say, “Who is burnin’? Effigy.” And I think it’s supposed to be, “Who is burned in effigy?”

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