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‘Cosmo’s Factory’: Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Hit-Making Machine

A heady mix of R&B, soul and Motown, country music, psychedelia, and more that comes together to create the soundtrack to swamp rock.

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Creedence Clearwater Revival Cosmo's Factory
Cover: Courtesy of Concord Music

Cosmo’s Factory, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s fifth studio album was released on July 16, 1970, just seven months after Willy & The Poor Boys. Their fourth album only made No.3 on the Billboard album charts, coming just a few short months after Green River, which topped the charts.

Expectations ran high and there was undoubtedly a sense of trepidation from both the band and their record label: Would this be a return to the top for a band that had been so successful on the Hot 100? There was no need to worry. Cosmo’s Factory topped the US album charts for nine straight weeks, starting the week beginning August 22, 1970.

Listen to Cosmo’s Factory now.

In the UK, meanwhile, Cosmo’s Factory also has the distinction of being the only one of the band’s albums to make the top 10. It went into the charts at No.1, replacing The Moody Blues, A Question of Balance.

The album’s unusual name comes from a warehouse in Berkeley, California that CCR used to rehearse in during its earliest days. They dubbed it “The Factory.” John Fogerty made drummer Doug “Cosmo” Clifford practice there virtually every day… hence Cosmo’s Factory.

Up Around The Bend

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The practice paid off, as Cosmo’s Factory was virtually a greatest hits album. There’s CCR’s now-classic rendition of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” which FM radio embraced, despite running over 11 minutes. CCR also tackled Big Boy Arthur Crudup’s “My Baby Left Me,” which Elvis Presley had also covered in the 1950s. From the same era is a cover of Roy Orbison’s “Ooby Dooby” that he’d recorded for Sun Records.

The album, overall, is a heady mix of R&B, soul and Motown, country music, psychedelia, rockabilly, and classic rock’n’roll that all comes together to create the soundtrack to swamp rock. “Run Through The Jungle,” one of the standout tracks, was Tom Fogerty’s all-time favorite CCR recording, “It’s like a little movie in itself with all the sound effects. It never changes key, but it holds your interest the whole time. It’s like a musician’s dream. It never changes key, yet you get the illusion it does.”

Creedence Clearwater Revival - I Heard It Through The Grapevine (Official Music Video)

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In their review of the album upon its release, Rolling Stone said, “It should be obvious by now that Creedence Clearwater Revival is one great rock and roll band. Cosmo’s Factory, the group’s fifth album, is another good reason why.” That’s exactly how we feel about it.

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Cosmo’s Factory can be bought here.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Andrea

    September 13, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Un album eccezionale, io lo posseggo ancora

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