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‘Proud Mary’: A Proud Moment For Creedence Clearwater Revival

The classic song started a sequence that makes CCR surely one of the unluckiest bands never to score a US No. 1 single.

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Creedence Proud Mary

It’s 25 January 1969. American movie-goers are watching Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave in Camelot and Tony Curtis and Henry Fonda in The Boston Strangler. The week’s top TV includes Dragnet, The Dean Martin Show and the debut of The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS. Marvin Gaye rules the charts with ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine,’ and joining it it in the Billboard Hot 100 is the new single by the hot band from El Cerrito, California. Creedence Clearwater Revival jump onto the chart at No. 62 with a song that will go on to sell a million in the US alone, and make its way into the Grammy and Rock Roll Halls of Fame: ‘Proud Mary.’

The John Fogerty composition was included on the second CCR album Bayou Country, which was released the same month. The single made fast progress, climbing into the top 30 within two weeks and going on to make the top ten in the UK, Germany, Holland and other European countries. In the States, it started a sequence that makes Creedence surely one of the unluckiest bands never to score a US No. 1 single.

By the 8 March chart, ‘Proud Mary’ was up to No. 2, but it stayed there for three weeks, unable to unseat first Sly & the Family Stone’s ‘Everyday People’ and then Tommy Roe’s ‘Dizzy’ from the top spot. Unbelievably, that would happen to Creedence four more times over the next 18 months or so, and twice in 1969 alone. ‘Bad Moon Rising,’ ‘Green River,’ ‘Travelin’ Band’ and ‘Lookin’ Out My Back Door’ all peaked at No. 2, and all were platinum singles except for ‘Green River,’ which “only” went gold.

Soon ‘Proud Mary’ was attracting covers, and as a great compliment to the inherent soulfulness of Fogerty’s writing and the band’s performance, two of the most notable were by R&B stars. Solomon Burke’s version was followed by the famous 1971 rendition by Ike & Tina Turner that went top five on both the US pop and R&B charts.

‘Proud Mary’ is on the Bayou Country album, which can be bought here.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Hester Manning

    January 28, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    love the ole time rockand roll even on the river lol

  2. Hugo Tomas

    January 30, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I sang Maria la orgullosa at a party when I was about 8, and learned my first cords on the guitar to born on the bayou. Thank you CCR and, MR Fogerty

  3. Michael Gorman

    January 26, 2016 at 2:23 am

    Proud Mary has a compelling rhythm that became the signature sound for CCR, that driving 4/4 syncopated with the emphasis on the third beat – it was a triumph of rhythm guitar, bass and drums, the rich melodic guitar solo added something unique at a time when other bands were trying to outdo each other being psychedelic; it was a breath of fresh air.

  4. Bob Vickowski

    March 12, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    One of my favorite classic rock bands.

  5. JP58

    March 10, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    It was the song that woke up my music feel for an alternative rock’n’roll sound, since it was so different to the other plain vanilla chart “top hits” around that time, with a very distinctive sound & feel compared to the rest…

    Creedence & Fogerty have been my musical “heroes” since then. Started to play guitar in ’71 thanks to them…Proud Mary is still a “standard” for guys who begin to play nowadays, just like Honky Tonk Women by the Stones…

  6. jack du Rietz

    March 10, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    best band ever..have seen long tripp from hometour in sweden(kungsbacka) love them

  7. Helen

    March 10, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    I used to listen to CCR with headphones and blasted loud My favorite band of all times Still listen to it loud and my grandkids just shake their heads

  8. Rusty Jennings

    March 11, 2017 at 1:29 am

    I have seen John live and it would be up there as one of the best live shows I have been to

  9. Jimmy Lim

    March 11, 2017 at 11:55 am

    CCR songs will live forever! I entered a song competition singing Bad Moon Rising and I faulted on the opening. It was embarrassing! People say I’m crazy but I collected everything from vinyls to books about CCR and John Fogerty. That’s how great a band they are to me.

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