Yee-hah! Break out the moonshine, we’re off down the Bayou for a rowdy rock ‘n’ roll shindig with CCR!
Bad Moon Rising, by Creedence Clearwater Revival (their 1st and only #1)
3 weeks, from 14th September – 5th October 1969
I love me some Creedence. And I love that they are the unlikely owners of a UK #1 single. Perhaps the most American band ever; that didn’t hold them back from hitting it big on the other side of the Atlantic. And while it does feel a bit odd that CCR was able to top the charts here; it does make sense that they’d do so with what’s probably their catchiest single.
Catchy, but also terrifying. Zager and Evans kicked us off down an apocalyptic path with our last #1, ‘In the Year 2525’, and John Fogerty and co. keep it up here. I see a bad moon rising, I see trouble on the way, I see earthquakes and lightning, I see bad time today… Something terrible is on its way… Rivers are overflowing, hurricanes are a-blowing. This song has possibly the biggest contrast between melody and lyrics of any chart-topping single. The tune: rough and ready rockabilly. The lyrics: Don’t go round tonight, It’s bound to take your life… There’s a bad moon on the rise…
It’s a short and sweet record, one that breezes in and out in just over two minutes. Apparently it was inspired by a scene involving a hurricane in an old movie, but Fogerty also claims to have written it on the day that Richard Nixon was elected president. For a decade that has been so swinging, so iconic, we’re heading for a sour and cynical finish. Maybe we have to look beyond the charts for the answer here –this is a product of a world where a whole generation of Americans were dying in Vietnam, men were landing on the moon, and Kennedys were getting shot…
By the final verse, things are getting very intense. Hope you’ve got your things together, Hope you are quite prepared to die… It’s all a bit much, and then we crash to an end. We open our eyes and breathe a sigh of relief that we’re all still here. The end hasn’t arrived, yet… Over and out from Creedence Clearwater Revival. Sadly this is their only #1 single, though we should just be glad that they managed even one. In their home country, they had far more hit singles – ‘Proud Mary, ‘Green River’, ‘Travellin’ Band’, ‘Lookin’ Out My Back Door’ and this record all hit #2 in 1969 / 70. Yet a Billboard #1 eluded them…
I love this track, in all its swamp rocking, apocalyptic glory. But, if you do find it all a bit much, a bit depressing, you can just do what John Fogerty does occasionally in concert: change the words of the chorus to There’s a bathroom on the right…
If the world were ending, you could do a lot worse than soundtracking it with this playlist:
10 thoughts on “276. ‘Bad Moon Rising’, by Creedence Clearwater Revival”
I didn’t know they had a number 1 there. They should have had more here…or at least one. This song does fit well now!
The song with the most famous mondegreen. LOL!
I’ve learned a new word! Yes, I had never heard the ‘bathroom’ line before writing this post, but now I can’t un-hear it…
No. You can’t! LOL! I never heard it either until my younger cousin started singing it.
Pingback: 287. ‘Yellow River’, by Christie – The UK Number Ones Blog
Pingback: Recap: #271 – #300 – The UK Number Ones Blog
Don’t know how true this is, but I hope it is. Taken from a forum discussing this song:
“An interviewer once mentioned to Fogerty that the chorus line was frequently misheard as “There’s a bad moon on the Right.” Fogerty replied he was happy with that, since that was actually what he meant.”
Pingback: 308. ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)’, by The New Seekers – The UK Number Ones Blog
Pingback: 332. ‘Rubber Bullets’, by 10cc – The UK Number Ones Blog
Pingback: Random Runners-up: ‘Let’s Work Together’, by Canned Heat – The UK Number Ones Blog