Proud Mary

John Fogerty, the frontman of CCR, would go on to cover many others, including Solomon Burke and Tina Turner, as he explains the recording and origins of their hit songs.

Back in the fall of 1967 — before the release of our first Creedence album — I bought a small notebook and began keeping a list of song-title ideas. My first entry was “Proud Mary.” I didn’t really know what those two words meant but I liked how they sounded together.

At the time, I was living in an apartment in Albany, California, near San Francisco, with my wife at the time and our newborn son. I was still in the Army Reserve and was concerned about being sent to Vietnam. One day in the early summer of ‘68, I saw an oversize envelope on the steps of our apartment building. It was my honorable discharge. In the blink of an eye, I was a civilian again. I did a handstand and flipped a few times on the small lawn out front.

Then I went inside, picked up my Rickenbacker guitar and began playing a song intro I had been working on. The chord riff was based on the opening to Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony,” which I had first heard on TV growing up. I didn’t like how Beethoven had composed it. I preferred hitting the first chord hard for emphasis, not the fourth.

When I added rhythm to the chords, the song had the motion of a boat. I had always loved Mark Twain’s writing and the music of Stephen Foster, so I wrote lyrics about a riverboat. The line “rollin’ on the river” was influenced by a movie I once saw about two riverboats racing. I finished most of it in two hours. Then I opened my notebook for a song title. There was “Proud Mary.”

A few weeks later, I played the song for the band. We had been rehearsing in my brother Tom’s garage in nearby El Cerrito. I showed them how the song went, but for a period of days it didn’t sound right. So I wrote out music parts for everyone.

When we recorded the tracks at RCA Studios in Hollywood in October ‘68, I channeled Wilson Pickett and Howlin’ Wolf with my lead vocal. Just as we were extending the final chorus at the end of the last and best take, the 2-inch reel of tape ran out. Luckily we had enough on there to create a fade-out in the final mix.

Listening to the playback, I wasn’t happy. The band’s background vocals sounded abrasive — like punk rock, not harmonious. I wanted a gospel feel. When I told the guys I was going to overdub the vocal harmony tracks myself, we had a big fight. Bruce Young, our road manager, took them to dinner.

I stayed behind and overdubbed all the background vocal parts. I also overdubbed a guitar solo using a Gibson ES-175—a big jazz guitar that I bought for the recording session. I recorded my solo line twice so it sounded more pronounced.

At the restaurant later, the guys were still angry and threatened to quit. I convinced them to hear the results. Back at the studio, I played them the song with my vocals. Nobody said anything. Then Bruce said, “Wow.” The single came out in January ‘69 and topped out at No. 2 on Billboard’s pop chart in March for three weeks. The band eventually broke up in ’72.

Exactly: John Fogerty claims he wasn’t fond of Beethoven’s rendition of the Fifth Symphony. Whoosh.

Maybe you are interested  Daily Lives Of My Countryside APK v0.2.6.1

Related Posts

Mr. in a 1983 Styx hit NYT Crossword Clue

If you need help, always remember that we’re here to assist you. With time and practice, you’ll get better at solving crossword puzzles, so don’t get discouraged…

‘Love You Anyway’ by Luke Combs – Lyrics & Meaning

In recent years, Luke Combs has established himself as one of the prominent figures in contemporary country music. Since 2017, native Charlotte, North Carolina has been thriving…

Culebrilla: qué es, causas, síntomas y tratamiento

It is recommended to seek appropriate treatment and consult a dermatologist or physician for a diagnosis if symptoms indicative of the presence of herpes zoster, scientifically known…

A Secret Vow – Best Characters and How to Get

Check out this guide for the best materials, ascension stats, and characters to obtain Vow’s Secret A. Rail Star: Honkai in Cone Light Path Destruction features Vow’s…

Judith Light Net Worth

Ellen Judith Light was born on February 9th, 1949 in Trenton, New Jersey, USA. She is best known for her roles in the ABC comedy-drama “Ugly Betty”…

R.I.P. Kay Parker (1944 – 2022) – The Rialto Report interview

Podcast: Listen in a fresh window | Download. Subscribe: RSS. Kay Parker, a notable personality during the heyday of adult film, passed away at the age of…