Creedence Clearwater Revival's golden era of hit singles (fall of 1968 through spring of 1972) rivals that of any band in rock 'n' roll history. The Southern-flavored quartet from El Cerrito, Calif., turned out 17 hits in a 44-month stretch, nine of them in the Top 10, five of them in the Top 5.
On November 3, Fantasy Records will release The Singles Collection, a two-CD, one-DVD box with a slip case, containing all of the band's U.S. singles -- 30 songs in all. Top 5 smashes like "Bad Moon Rising," "Green River," "Down on the Corner," "Travelin' Band," "Who'll Stop the Rain," "Run Through the Jungle," "Up Around the Bend," "Long As I Can See the Light" and "Lookin' Out My Back Door" are joined by seldom-heard singles that never charted ("Porterville" and "Call It Pretending" on Fantasy's Scorpio subsidiary, and later singles "Tearin' Up the Country" and "45 Revolutions Per Minute [Parts 1 & 2]").
The 30 songs, (which are presented in their original single mixes, manyost of them in mono --- are making their CD debut), housed on two CDs, will be joined by a DVD containing four never-before-available, long-pre-MTV music videos: "I Heard it Through the Grapevine," "Bootleg," "I Put a Spell on You" and "Lookin' Out My Back Door." Also included in the package are a poster featuring the dozens of international single sleeves, and a 16-page booklet with liner notes by former Rolling Stone editor Ben Fong-Torres, who lived and wrote in the Bay Area during CCR's golden half-decade.
Fantasy will also manufacture a limited edition collectors' version of The Singles Collection featuring actual vinyl 45 rpm singles with reproductions of the original Fantasy label design and housed in their rare picture sleeves-- the ultimate holiday gift for Creedence fans.
The members of Creedence Clearwater Revival, of course, hailed from the suburbs of Oakland the little town of El Cerrito, lappeding up music on the radio through the late ' '50s and '60s, and eventually signed to a small, open-minded jazz label in Berkeley called Fantasy Records. Originally known as the Tommy Fogerty & the Blue Velvets and then The Golliwogs, the band's break came with its swampy 1968 cover of Dale Hawkins' "Suzie Q," which notched #11 on Billboard's pop singles chart. Starting on San Francisco's free-form rock radio stations, the song crossed over top Top 40, putting Creedence on the map. As Fong-Torres notes, "radio needed acts like CCR -- reliable producers of solid tunes laden with hooks."
Even in the South, radio was taken with CCR. DJ Scott Shannon, then on Memphis' WMPS-AM, was a Dale Hawkins fan and thought Fogerty nailed it. "His voice and his mixes were perfect for Top 40," he said. "It just screamed out of the AM radios."
But it wasn't just the radio. CCR songs began popping up in movies and TV shows -- several dozens of them, in fact. "Bad Moon Rising" has shown up the most often (including in An American Werewolf in London), and "Fortunate Son" has been heard in films ranging from The Manchurian Candidate (2004) to Live Free or Die Hard (2007).
"I used to say in 1968 that I wanted to make records they would still play on the radio in ten years," John Fogerty said in early 1993, on the eve of Creedence Clearwater Revival's induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.
Forty years later, the music sounds as fresh and vital as ever.