“[While marching in the army – Ed]. I started thinking about a story – a character from the wrong side of the tracks, sort of a put-upon guy, whose dad was frowned upon in the community because he may have stolen something, committed some sort of crime. It was me, but it wasn’t me. Not specifically my own life, but enough of me in there. I kept doing this day after day. I’d kind of click on the station in my head, and the same story would start to play. At some point I became self-aware. At first it was like you’re swimming in a stream – your mind is so busy you don’t realize what you’re doing. You’re just trying to survive. “The army thinks they have me but they don’t. They don’t have what’s in my mind.” I thought, “Man, you’re onto something here. This is better than all the teenage angst songs I had known.” That song became “Porterville.” You’ll notice I never say “Porterville” in the song. I wanted it to be a small town. I could’ve named it “Merced.” Or “Turlock.” I just wanted a certain feel to it and eventually found Porterville, and sounded exactly right.”John Fogerty (1227)

Proud Mary

“I went down to the local drugstore and bought a cheap little vinyl notebook. This was my songbook. Sometime soon after I brought it home, I made the very first entry: “Proud Mary’. For some reason that phrase came into my brain, and I thought it was a good song title. It sounded cool. But I had no idea what it was about. Proud Mary? I didn’t know what that meant. It could’ve been about a person. Then one day in the summer of 1968, I walk up to my apartment and I see, on the steps, a big white envelope with a government seal. My honorable discharge from the army. I picked up my Rickenbacker and out came the first line: “Left a good job in the city.” I got into it. The riff came from messing around with Beethoven’s Fifth which sounded like a paddle wheel to me. “Big wheel.” “Yeah, yeah – the big wheel! Wow, what is this about?” You’re not self-aware. You’re just going with the thing. By this time maybe an hour had passed. I go to my notebook and there’s “Proud Mary.” The title jumped off the page. Oh my – you mean this song is about a boat? Without saying anything else, it said everything. I was female, ships are female. Proud. Wow, there it is! Proud Mary!”John Fogerty (1228)


“The inspiration was those trips with my dad to those small towns in central California, a place that I felt very warm and special about. Somehow I got the idea of a traveling musician, probably a country guy, but older. A guy whose career is in the rearview mirror. The kicker is, “Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi….again!” That “Oh Lord” tells you how we feels.”John Fogerty (1229)

Bad Moon Rising

“I was up late at night trying to write, and I started thinking about this old movie, ‘The Devil and Daniel Webster’, about a farmer who sells his soul to Mr. Scratch – the devil – for good fortune. The part that really made an impression on me was when this cyclone comes down and the farmer is cowering in the barn while all hell breaks loose outside. When he wakes up the next morning, all the neighbors have lost their crops to the storm. Thanks to the devil, our hero’s crops are untouched. So I started writing about a natural disaster. Pretty unusual thing to write a song about, and what was more unusual was the snappy melody I gave it. Here I am talking about a horrible disaster and the devil taking your life, and it sounded as jaunty as Guy Mitchell doing ‘Singing the Blues’.”John Fogerty (1230)

Tombstone Shadow

“This comes from a story of the very early days of Creedence. We played a show in San Bernadino, and right across the street from our hotel was a fortune teller. It was just some guy in a green bowling shirt who looked at my palms and said, “That’s bad. You shouldn’t fly in airplanes.” Then he had me cut the cards, and he lifted two cards up: both red, a seven and a six. Thirteen. He says, “You’re gonna have thirteen months of bad luck”.”John Fogerty (1231)


“There’s a thread in a lot of my songs: I’m kind of ill at ease with what we call civilization. The TV blaring, computers, the fast pace of traffic…I’m kind of anti that. I’m seeking some sort of peace – or, to use another word, clarity. Instead of confusion, I’m into having things make sense. ‘Commotion’ is railing against all that confusion.”John Fogerty (1231)

Sinister Purpose

“That’s about the concept of the devil – the unspeakable dark force, he who is most evil. That guy.”John Fogerty (1231)

Cross-Tie Walker

“The guy in ‘Cross-Tie Walker’ is from the same town that ‘Green River’ is set in. ‘Cross-Tie Walker’ is a phrase I invented. It’s about hoboes catching trains.”John Fogerty (1231)

Wrote A Song For Everyone

“This was based on a real thing that happened. It was a Sunday afternoon on 1969 and I was wiring. There was some urgency in my mind. My wife, Martha, probably had other ideas for the weekend and made some remark like, “Is that all you’re going to do today?” I was a bit aloof and didn’t realize we were in the midst of a discussion. And she said, “Well, I’m going to see my mother.” Just as the door finally closed behind her, it finally dawned on me that she was angry. And a phrase went right into my head: “I wrote a song for everyone, and I can’t even talk to you.” In writing the song, I made it less personal and more general. There were politicians during those days who were older and couldn’t relate to their kids…”John Fogerty (1232)

It Came Out Of The Sky

“This was inspired by two things. As a youngster I read every science fiction book in the El Cerrito library, and I loved all the movies – ‘Invaders from Mars’, ‘Them!’, ‘It Came from Outer Space’. I saw every one. I’m also a fan of that old movie Ace in the Hole. Kirk Douglas plays a reporter, and somebody falls down a hole in a cave, and they figure out a way to milk the thing – to make his rescue take longer than it should. At first it’s just happening out in the middle of nowhere, but soon there’s catering trucks, film crews, and reporters – all the support that goes into selling a story. That was the direction I wanted to go with ‘It Came Out Of The Sky’. Walter Cronkite and Eric Sevareid are in there, big newscasters at the time. And Ronald Regan – I call him Ronnie the Popular.”John Fogerty (1233)