In a sense, a huge chapter in American rock history ended in the spring of 1972, when 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 in January of that year, was something of an unfortunate and unhappy postscript in the hugely successful and influential CCR story. Tom Fogerty had left the band after internal disputes following their 1970 million-seller Pendulum, leaving 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.
That was with the exception of 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, who were each aged 16 when it was in the charts and on the radio.
John Fogerty, previously the band’s principal songwriter, only contributed three numbers to Mardi Gras, which met with considerably less success and acclaim than its predecessors. ‘Lookin’ For A Reason’ had John in country mood, introducing an album 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 single in 1971 and another US top ten hit, which was then included on Mardi Gras.
The album entered the US chart on 29 April, 1972 at No. 63 and would climb as high as No. 12 in a 24-week stay, winning gold certification. But by October, the band had announced their split, and within a few weeks of that, they were back in the charts with a Creedence Gold compilation that would advance to US sales alone of two million.