January 2, 2015

What’s in a Name? – #1

Creedence Clearwater Revival
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, The Golliwogs!” Sounds kind of catchy, doesn’t it? Even though it was created to invoke images of a British Invasion-type of band, the members of the Revival hated this original name bestowed to them by their first record label. In 1967, the band had enough confidence and clout to name themselves. Creedence referred to guitarist Tom Fogerty’s friend, Creedence Nuball; Clearwater was from a beer commercial; and the term Revival was selected as a sign of intent.

The Revival’s two most popular albums, both of which reached number one on the U.S. charts, were “Green River” and “Cosmo Factory.” The title “Green River” stemmed from lead singer John Fogerty’s fondness for childhood summers spent along a Northern California creek. The “Cosmo Factory” title originated from the nickname given to their nature-hugging drummer Doug Clifford and the band’s cramped rehearsal space in Doug’s backyard.

The group’s most-covered (and first million-selling) hit was “Proud Mary.” Conceived on the morning of his discharge from the U.S. army, John, for some reason, had visions of a noble “washer woman” when he came up with the title. As he strummed the initial chords, the rhythm made him think of a paddle wheel going round and round. Out went the dignified janitor, in came a riverboat on the mighty Mississippi.

As for the titles to some other CCR hits, well, let’s assume John had a fondness for simply stating where he was hanging out when he thought up song titles like “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” “Down On The Corner,” “Up Around The Bend,” and “Down On The Bayou,” as well as having a wondrous fascination about precipitation with titles like “Who’ll Stop The Rain?” and “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?”.

© 2000 Ned Truslow

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