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The Strange and Unusual Story Behind CCR’s Bad Moon Rising

Music | July 6, 2018

CIRCA 1970: Photo of Creedence Clearwater Revival (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), as you probably know is an American band who first played together as a group in 1959. They remained front and center in pop-culture music of the groovy era. CCR was epically popular throughout the late 60’s and early 70’s but their music lives on. Members included John Fogerty, his brother, Tom Fogerty, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford.

John Fogerty was the “front” man and primary songwriter of CCR.

CCR’s style of music consisted of Southern rock with a touch of blues. Their sound was unmistakable. Fogerty, who wrote most of the group’s songs, was the lyricist of “Bad Moon Rising,” one of their most famous songs.

Bad Moon Rising” is a fun song with a dark meaning!

CCR’s famous “Bad Moon Rising” was a top rock song during the days of Woodstock.

“Bad Moon Rising” is a song with a lighthearted and catchy tone that is easy to sing along with. If you listen carefully to the lyrics, however, there is nothing lighthearted about them. Often we know the words and sing along without giving any thought to the message the song is sending.

John Fogerty reportedly got his inspiration for the song from a dark movie called, “The Devil and Daniel Webster.” In the movie, a hurricane wiped out just about an entire town. The song contains the lyrics, “I feel the hurricane blowin’, I hope you’re quite prepared to die.”

The lyrics tell gloomy story about the impending doom of an apocalypse, which is in stark contrast to the happy sounding song we have come to love.

“Bad Moon Rising” actually became the theme song of young demonstrators in the Berkeley, California, People’s Park riots in 1969.

On a lighter note, often the lyrics, “There’s a bad moon on the rise,” has been misheard and misunderstood to be, “There’s a bathroom on the right.”  Fogerty even sang these lyrics in fun on more than one occasion to the delight of his fans.

Fogerty willingly admitted that he was aware of the contradiction between the damning song lyrics and the happy sounding music.

“Bad Moon Rising” has been used in science fiction films including “An American Werewolf in London” and the Twilight Zone: The Movie.

Quite a few other music greats have covered “Bad Moon Rising.”

The famous song has also been covered by many other music greats. The list includes Nirvana, Bruce Springsteen, Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Emmylou Harris, The Reels, The Meteors, Thea Gilmore, Ann Wilson with Gretchen Wilson, Type O Negative, 16 Horsepower, Reels, Spitballs, Blue Aeroplanes, Lagwagon, Battlefield Band, Ducky Boys, Acoustic Shack, Ventures, Meteors, and Rasputina.

CCR’s music is still widely played on U.S. radio stations. Despite the fact that they never had a number 1 song on the charts, the iconic group has sold over 26 million albums in the U.S. alone. They have been ranked as number 82 by Rolling Stone magazine on its “Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.