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Flashback: CCR Breaks Up 40 Years Ago

(Hulton Archive/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

It was 40 years ago today (October 16h, 1972) that Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) officially disbanded. CCR was one of most successful acts of the late ’60s and early ’70s, racking up 11 Top 20 hits in under four years.

Seeds of the band’s demise came when co-founder Tom Fogerty left the previous year. Tom had been chafing artistically under the leadership of his younger brother John Fogerty, who wrote, sang, and produced the band’s music, including such classics such as “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” “Down On The Corner,” “Up Around The Bend,” “Born On The Bayou,” and many others.

By 1972, John was unhappy with the group format, as well as his demanding contract with CCR’s record label, Fantasy. CCR’s drummer Doug Clifford and bassist Stu Cook say that the band’s final studio album, Mardi Gras, was essentially the final nail in the band’s coffin: “(Doug Clifford) The Mardi Gras album where we each did a third was an ultimatum from him. (Stu Cook) I had a conversation with him after a show at the San Diego Coliseum. (Doug Clifford) Right. . . (Stu Cook) And he said, ‘Oh by the way, on this next album, you and Doug are doing a third of the writing and a third of the singing and I’m just going to play rhythm guitar on your tracks.’ And I said, ‘John, that’s not a Creedence album, I doubt the record company will accept it, I know the fans aren’t going to be happy with it,’ and he says, ‘Well, that’s the way it is or I quit.'”

John Fogerty’s relationship with the band, including with his brother, never healed after the split. John accused his former bandmates of siding with record company executives rather than trying to free him from what he saw as an unfair record contract. After releasing two solo albums, Fogerty held back a third in a contract dispute, and essentially retired for a nearly a decade until resurfacing with 1985’s critically acclaimed Centerfield.
The original foursome reunited only once, when they briefly jammed at Tom Fogerty’s 1980 wedding.

Tom Fogerty died of AIDS following a blood transfusion in 1990, without reconciling with John. In 1993 John barred Cook and Clifford from performing with him at CCR’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Since 1995, Cook and Clifford have toured successfully as Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Although Fogerty originally fought the pair over the use of the name, according to Cook there is a silent and uneasy truce between the group’s survivors.

After years of ignoring his CCR hits in concert, over the past decade, John Fogerty has embraced his past and now includes nearly all of the band’s biggest hits in his concert set lists: “I still realize that by far all around the world I am most known for the Creedence era. And those are songs that I love to play. I’m very happy at this stage in my career that people still, you know, really get a big kick out of hearing “Green River” and “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” and “Have You Ever Seen The Rain.” It’s a really cool thing (laughs). Sometimes I’m pretty much in awe of the whole situation.”

Coming on November 6th is the new three-CD set, Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival: Greatest Hits & All-Time Classics. The third disc of the 51-track collection features live versions of Creedence favorites.

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