When you start to think about great American rock ‘n’ roll bands, it doesn’t take long to realize that the spectrum of American rock music is broad, encompassing country rock, blues rock, hard rock, and more avant garde rock music. Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of those bands that moved around on that broad spectrum. People tend to associate the group with country rock (or, more precisely, the sub-genre low country swamp rock) and that is a fair characterization of some of their music — but then where do songs like The Midnight Special or the CCR cover of I Heard It Through the Grapevine fit in?
CCR was hugely popular in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and according to the Wikipedia entry it is the band with the most Billboard #2 songs — five in all — without ever getting a song to #1. Its popularity continued to the end of the 1970s, and it was a stereo system staple during my college years. CCR was another band of choice for my college roommate, Skip, probably because songs like Green River reminded him of the Cheat River and New River in West Virginia, where he worked as a whitewater raft guide. I liked listening to CCR, too, because I admired the diversity of their music. They played great straightforward rock ‘n’ roll — My Baby Left Me is an excellent example — and songs that you would start to sing to before you even realized it, like Bad Moon Rising. And, many of their songs had an intriguing, kind of ominous sound and quality to them — songs like Run Through the Jungle and I Put a Spell on You.
I’d be surprised if any real music fan would argue that CCR should not be seriously considered as one of the great American rock ‘n’ roll bands. Consistent with that status, a lot of their songs can be found on the Ipod — songs like Born on the Bayou, The Midnight Special, Before You Accuse Me, My Baby Left Me, Bad Moon Rising, Down on the Corner, I Heard It Through the Grapevine, Lodi, Lookin’ Out my Back Door, and Run Through the Jungle.
Edited to add: Time to Vote for your choice for Best American Band!