Friday, January 18, 2019

50 years ago: “Proud Mary” set sail on the charts

Proud Mary

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Writer(s): John Fogerty (see lyrics here)

First Charted: January 18, 1969

Peak: 2 US, 2 CB, 11 HR, 8 UK, 2 CN, 5 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 5.0 radio, 31.1 video, 140.04 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

“Proud Mary” established Creedence Clearwater Revival as the best act out of New Orleans since Fats Domino, an impressive feat since they’d never been there! SJ Their signature swampy sound understandably gave them a Louisiana vibe, but a guitar solo which singer John Fogerty said was influenced by Booker T & the MG’s Steve Cropper helps tie the song to the musical South as well. The fact that it also sounds “like an ancient gospel song in its rousing rallying cry” AMG doesn’t hurt either. Add in steamboat-themed lyrics and the connection is complete.

Fogerty called “Proud Mary” “the first really good song I ever wrote.” RS500 He said he started singing about the river and then decided to make the song about the boat. RS500 This blossomed into a tale of a man abandoning the city for work on a steamboat, a theme which fit well with the 1969 back-to-the-country counterculture movement, even if Fogerty’s message was really about “a working man finding release, not a middle-class hippie yearning for a pastoral ideal.” AMG

As the band’s first U.S. top ten, “Proud Mary” has also become the definitive CCR song, blending Americana, swamp rock, blues, country, rockabilly, gospel, and soul. AMG The song gave the band a dubious record – as the first of five CCR singles to peak at #2, the band gained the distinction of hitting the runner-up slot the most times without ever going to #1. WK

While it didn’t go to the top, it pulled off a rare feat in becoming the signature song for not one, but two major recording acts. Ike and Tina Turner enhanced the song’s gospel and soul vibe to create “a raveup with the feel of a church revival.” AMG It landed the duo at #4 on the pop charts and #5 on the R&B charts in 1971.

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Last updated 4/28/2021.

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