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

It’s a heady mix of R&B, soul and Motown, country music, psychedelia, rockabilly and classic rock’n’roll that comes together to create the soundtrack to swamp rock.

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Creedence Clearwater Revival Cosmo's Factory

Cosmo’s Factory, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s fifth studio album was released on 16 July 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 no doubt there was 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, in fact quite the opposite when Cosmo’s Factory topped the US album charts for 9 straight weeks, beginning 22 August 1970. It toppled Blood Sweat & Tears 3 from the top spot, which ironically had deposed the Woodstock movie soundtrack; CCR played the festival yet did not feature on the film or its soundtrack.

Listen to Cosmo’s Factory right now.

Cosmo’s Factory also has the distinction of being the only one of the band’s albums to make the UK top 10 and not just that on 12 September it went into the charts at No.1, replacing The Moody Blues, A Question of Balance. Their success in the UK owed a lot to a European tour that included dates in London early in 1970. In September 1971 they returned to the UK and played in Manchester.

US success was off the back of the double a-side ‘Travellin’ Band’/’Who’ll Stop The Rain’, which made No.2 on the charts in February 1970. This was followed by another double a-side of ‘Up Around the Bend’/’Run Through The Jungle’, which peaked at No.4 in late spring/early summer 1970. Finally ‘Lookin’ Out My Back Door/’Long As I Can See The Light’ also made No.2 in late summer.

Cosmo’s Factory was virtually a greatest hits album with 6 of the 11 tracks being a part of the radio soundtrack to 1970. Four of the remaining tracks were cover versions, there’s CCR’s now classic rendition of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ which FM radio embraced. It ran for over 11 minutes.

CCR also tackle Big Boy Arthur Crudup’s ’My Baby Left Me,’ which Elvis Presley had also covered by in the 1950s. From the same era is a cover of Roy Orbison’s ‘Ooby Dooby’ that he’d recorded for Sun Records. For their final cover the band did a version of ‘Before You Accuse Me’, a B-side and track from Bo Diddley’s first LP.

It’s 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 supreme examples of swamp-rock was Tom Fogerty’s all time favourite 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.”

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

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.


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

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Andrea

    September 13, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Un album eccezionale, io lo posseggo ancora

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