How Golliwogs Became Major hit makers in American Popular Music.


Creedence Clearwater Revival was born out of a high school friendship between John Fogerty, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford. The group were performing as an instrumental group called the Blue Velvets. Eventually Fogerty’s older brother Tom would join the band and handle the vocals. They would perform in local bars in the San Francisco bay area. They caught the attention of Saul Zaentz the founder of a new label called Fantasy Records. Zaentz would record the group under the name; the Golliwogs. The singles were abysmal failures, failing to get enough air time to motivate sales. A some point John Fogerty took over the direction of the band and success would not be far behind. He became the principal writer, vocalist and lead guitarist. They group came up with the name Creedence Clearwater Revival from three elements 1) a friend of Tom Fogerty’s named Credence Newball (they changed it to Creedence), 2) a tele

vision commercial for Olympia beer “clear water”, 3) and as an acknowledgement to the band’s renewed commitment they added Revival.

After a brief setback when John Fogerty and Doug Clifford were inducted in to military service, all four members began an intense schedule of rehearsal and playing full time in clubs and bars. Their first album would be self titled and featured their first big hit the rock-a-billy standard written by Dale Hawkins “Suzy Q” it peaked at No. 11 on the Top 40 charts.  It would be the only Top 40 hit CCR would have that was not written by John Fogerty.

The band would enjoy many hits and see nearly all of their albums go gold… but trouble would soon rear it’s ugly head and tensions would stalk the group. The band would play at Woodstock in 1969, following the Grateful Dead at 3 am. Fogerty claimed the Dead had put the crowd to sleep. Fogerty also felt the performance was sub-par and refused to allow it on the soundtrack for the film, or on the two disc album set. As it was, few people even realized they performed at the legendary music festival. The song “Who’ll Stop the Rain” was a result of the band’s experience at Woodstock. The band returned to Wally Heider’s Studio to put together what would become the 1970 release “Cosmos Factory” This would be their best selling LP. However, 1970 would also mark the departure of Tom Fogerty from the group as he had enough of his little brother’s iron grip on all things CCR. “Pendulum” the bands 7th album would be the last with the brothers Fogerty playing together. The band would continue as a trio.

But not for long. In 1972 the group was not only experiencing internal troubles, Fogerty and Fantasy Records were at a breaking point. Sal Zaentz had never delivered on the promise of a better contract. After a brief 20 city tour, where Fogerty had refused to allow the band to play encores, the breakup came. In October of 1972 the band, Creedence Clearwater Revival had ended. Stu Cook and Doug Clifford resurrected a poor imitation of the group called Creedence Clearwater Revisted in 1995. Tom Fogerty passed away from blood borne disease in 1990. Sadly he and his brother John had not spoken to each other.

Legal battles would plague the remaining ex-members of the band, for years and years. A series of lawsuits that began in 1978 would be settled in 1983, when a California Court awarded $8.6 million dollars to the group. However, little of that money was ever realized by anyone associated with Creedence Clearwater Revival. John Fogerty would go on to a successful solo career and had switched from Fantasy to Verve Records, beginning with Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again. The legacy of Creedence Clearwater Revival, could be a lot of things. At best, they produced some of the most memorable songs that would stretch over several generations. At worst, CCR is a model for how not to operate a music business and build relationships.

Been a lover of Blues music since picking up on it from the British bands I adored. Cream, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Eric Burden and so many others.

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