Tuesday, April 16, 2019

On This Day (1969): Creedence Clearwater Revival “Bad Moon Rising” released

Bad Moon Rising

Creedence Clearwater Revival

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

Released: April 16, 1969

First Charted: May 2, 1969

Peak: 2 BB 2 CB, 11 GR, 11 HR, 1 CL, 13 UK, 5 CN, 3 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.6 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 121.15 video, 683.45 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Creedence Clearwater Revival was formed in 1968 by John Fogerty. Rock and roll may have been in its adolescence, but it was already old enough for roots revival music like CCR’s that “turned to bluegrass, mountain music, rockabilly, and honky-tonk for inspiration.” MM The band’s first two hits were covers of Dale Hawkins’ “Suzy Q” and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You.” Between those and their third single, the original Mississippi-steamboat-themed “Proud Mary” the band established themselves as the band with a swampy-vibe that sounded like they were from New Orleans – even though they’d never been there.

They extended that feeling with their next single, “Bad Moon Rising,” and its suggestion of down-south voodoo. The song was considered a reflection of “the cosmic ethos of the hippie movement and the foreboding late 1960s. In truth, the song poked fun at astrology and had little to do with current events.” MM Still, it was “a dark song for dark times, with the Vietnam war riaging and Richard Nixon in power – but all set to a bouncy, jangly beat; a vision of Doomsday with a smile.” SS Author Dave Thompson describes it as “the end of the world set to music. It is every horror film you’ve ever seen and every nightmare you’ve ever had.” DT

It was inspired more by the 1941 The Devil and Daniel Webster about a farmer who sells his soul to the devil. As Fogerty said, “What I remembered most is this furious storm the town endures. All of my lyrics for the song were inspired by that scene.” MM Of course, the title of the song has evoked one of the most misunderstood lyrics of all time as people have mistakenly thought Fogerty to be singing, “There’s a bathroom on the right.” Fogerty has said he purposely pokes fun at the song now by singing the incorrect lyrics. MM

Fogerty also shared that the instrumental arrangement was influenced by “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone” by Elvis Presley, MM particularly Scotty Moore’s guitar licks. SS The recording technique was inspired by Gene Vincent, who recorded vocals and instrumentals separately. MM It worked. As rock critic Dave Marsh said, “The jangle of the guitar isn’t simply evoking old rockabilly singles, just vibrating at the same damnable frequency as your nerves.” DM


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First posted 9/12/2023; last updated 9/15/2023.

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