"by Hank Bordowitz
Chicago Review Press, $16.95
In a scant four years, from 1968-1972, Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) went on a creative tear, charting more than 13 top 10 hits. Remarkable as this was, it doesn’t begin to describe the way that many of those songs, from “Fortunate Son” to “Born on the Bayou,” “Proud Mary” to “Run Through the Jungle,” instantly became part of America’s cultural gene pool.
CCR consisted of four geeky guys from El Cerrito, Calif., a blue-collar Bay Area suburb. One of those guys, John Fogerty, happened to be a genius when it came to channeling Americana; Fogerty had a blood understanding of American roots music long before this was a pop preoccupation. In a flash, he made the timeless contemporary.
But, as Hank Bordowitz makes clear in the updated edition of his history of the band, Bad Moon Rising, Fogerty was also wracked by working-class insecurities and resentments that turned him into a control freak who insisted on managing every aspect of CCR — poorly, as it turned out.
Fogerty alienated everyone he worked with in those days, creating grudges that have never been resolved. It’s a bleak, dispiriting story that, unfortunately, is not enhanced by Bordowitz’s pedestrian prose and ham-fisted storytelling. Bordowitz relies almost exclusively on secondhand source material — previously published interviews and magazine coverage — stringing quotes together with little authorial insight into the band’s musical contributions or, for that matter, the psychodynamics that made CCR implode. That’s a shame; given the contemporary rage for roots, a fresh reconsideration of CCR is due.