Creedence Clearwater Revival's 15 greatest songs, ranked

18 January 2023, 10:26 | Updated: 6 October 2023, 10:39

Travelin' Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall documentary trailer

By Mayer Nissim

We round up the very best Creedence Clearwater Revival songs.

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John Fogerty has long complained about his lack of control over the Creedence Clearwater Revival back catalogue.

That all changed in January 2023, when the songwriter bought a majority stake in the global publishing rights to those tracks.

"I own my own songs again," Fogerty said at the time.

"This is something I thought would never be a possibility. After 50 years, I am finally reunited with my songs. I also have a say in where and how my songs are used."

To celebrate, we've rounded up our favourite 15 Creedence Clearwater Revival hits, and ranked them all the way to the very best.

  1. I Put A Spell On You

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - I Put A Spell On You

    All the songs on this list are by CCR's main songwriter and de facto leader Jon Fogerty... except this one.

    For a song so definitely recorded by its author "Screamin' Jay" Hawkins, it's amazing how well it stood up to constant re-interpretation.

    As well as versions from Alan Price and Annie Lennox, the song has been memorably covered by Nina Simone, Bryan Ferry, Sonique, Marilyn Manson, Bette Midler, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown and Jeff Beck with Joss Stone,.

    An early single taken from their self-titled debut album Creedence Clearwater Revival also played their dazzling psychedelic rock take of the song at Woodstock.

  2. Sweet Hitch-Hiker

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Sweet Hitch-Hiker (Official Music Video)

    The band's second-last single (it was followed by the swansong 'Someday Never Comes'), and the trailer for Mardi Gras – their first and only album after the departure of Jon Fogerty's brother Tom was the stomping somewhat explicit Sweet Hitch-Hiker ("Sweet hitch-a-hiker / Won't you ride on my fast machine?").

    It was recorded in spring 1971 at the same time as its B-side and fellow Mardis Gras album track 'Door To Do' (written and sung by Stu Cook), while the rest of the album was put together the following January.

  3. Run Through The Jungle

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Run Through The Jungle

    "The thing I wanted to talk about was gun control and the proliferation of guns," Fogerty told Rolling Stone about 'Run Through The Jungle'.

    "I remember reading around that time that there was one gun for every man, woman and child in America, which I found staggering.

    "So somewhere in the song, I think I said, '200 million guns are loaded.' Not that anyone else has the answer, but I did not have the answer to the question; I just had the question."

    Like so many of the singles on this list, 'Run Through The Jungle' was a double-A-side package, released as a bundle with 'Up Around The Bend' (more on that later).

  4. Lookin' Out My Back Door

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Lookin' Out My Back Door (Official Video)

    Creedence Clearwater Revival scored a whopping five number two singles, two of which were double-A-sides, including 'Lookin' Out My Back Door', which went platinum in 1970 with 'Long as I Can See the Light' on the flip. It was only kept off the top by Diana Ross's version of 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough'.

    Fogerty, wrote this bouncing song for his then-three-year-old son Josh and was inspired by the Dr. Seuss book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

  5. Travelin' Band

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Travelin' Band (Official Music Video)

    This hit double-A-side (backed with fellow Cosmo's Factory track 'Who'll Stop The Rain'), it reached number two in the US singles chart and was only kept off the top by Simon and Garfunkel's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'.

    It was inspired by Little Richard's 1950's classics, so much so the owners of the publishing rights of 'Good Golly, Miss Molly' filed a lawsuit that was later settled out of court.

    It's been covered by everyone from Bruce Springsteen and Elton John to a supergroup of Def Leppard featuring Brian May, while Fogerty recorded it with Jerry Lee Lewis for the rock 'n' roll pioneer's Last Man Standing album in 2006.

  6. Up Around The Bend

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Up Around The Bend

    Taken from Creedence's fifth studio album Cosmo's Factory, 'Up Around The Bend' reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1970 and was also one of the group's biggest UK hits, reaching number three over here.

    It's also been covered by some pretty big names, with Elton John putting down a version early on in his career (you can find it on from The Legendary Covers Album '69​-​'70) and Hanoi Rocks doing it for their Two Steps from the Move album in 1984.

  7. Down on the Corner

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Down On The Corner (Official Lyric Video)

    "Something in my brain said ‘Winnie the Pooh and the Pooh Boys’," Fogerty told Best Classic Bands about spotting a Disney advert in the paper, which inspired this single (another double-A-side, this time with 'Fortunate Son').

    "Obviously that was close to ‘Willy and the Poor Boys’. As I began to develop this idea it turned into music in that weird mystical, almost uncontrollable way, music comes to songwriters.

    "Winnie the Pooh is still my favourite character who I’ve shared with my daughter Kelsy since the day she was born, though she’s growing out of it. But I’m not."

    'Down on the Corner' went to number three in the US charts, and eventually went double platinum, helping its parent album Willy and the Poor Boys hit the number three spot, too.

  8. Green River

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Green River (Official Lyric Video)

    "Green River,' I got from a soda pop-syrup label," Fogerty told Rolling Stone about the title of this 1969 single from the album of the same name.

    "My flavour was called 'Green River'."

    He added: "A song like 'Green River' – which you may think would fit seamlessly into the Bayou vibe, but it's actually about the Green River, as I named it.

    "It was actually called Putah Creek by Winters, California. It wasn't called Green River, but in my mind I always sort of called it Green River."

    It went top 20 in the UK and was one of the band's umpteen number two US hits.

  9. Born On The Bayou

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Born On The Bayou (Official Lyric Video)

    The opener of the band's second album Bayou Country, 'Born On The Bayou' sounds exactly like you'd imagine, with its swamp rock vibe feeling absolutely authentic despite Fogerty writing from his mind, rather than experience.

    "I put it in the swamp where, of course, I had never lived," Fogerty told Pop Chronicles.

    "It was late as I was writing. I was trying to be a pure writer, no guitar in hand, visualizing and looking at the bare walls of my apartment.

    "Tiny apartments have wonderful bare walls, especially when you can't afford to put anything on them... I was getting some of that imagery from Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters."

  10. Fortunate Son

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Fortunate Son (Official Music Video)

    Taken from the band's fourth studio album Willy and the Poor Boys, this 1969 single became an anti-war anthem ("Yeah-yeah, some folks inherit star-spangled eyes /Hoo, they send you down to war, Lord") as the horrors in Vietnam dragged on.

    "I was drafted and they're making me fight, and no one has actually defined why," Fogerty told The Voice in 2015 about writing the song in a 20 minute burst.

    "So this was all boiling inside of me and I sat down on the edge of my bed and out came, 'It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no senator's son!'.

  11. Have You Ever Seen The Rain

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Have You Ever Seen The Rain (Official)

    Often interpreted as exploring the end of the 1960s dream (a la The Who's 'Won't Get Fooled Again'), number 8 single 'Have You Ever Seen The Rain' was actually about the issues within Creedence Clearwater Revival that would eventually see John's brother Tom leave the band.

    CCR limped on without Tom as a three piece of John, Doug Clifford and Stu Cook for the fractured Mardi Gras album but split up in 1972.

  12. Long As I Can See The Light

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Long As I Can See The Light (Lyric Video)

    Released in 1970 as equal billing with 'Lookin' Out My Back Door', 'Long As I Can See The Light' has endured as one of Creedence's best-loved songs, with Fogerty continuing to play it as a solo star.

    Its drums were sampled in 1999 for Moby's 'The Sky Is Broken' on his ubiquitous Play album, while Fogerty re-recorded the track alongside My Morning Jacket for his 2013 album Wrote A Song For Everyone.

  13. Who’ll Stop The Rain

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Who'll Stop The Rain (Lyrics And Chords Video)

    Released as a double A-side with 'Travellin' Band', 'Who'll Stop The Rain' was taken from the band's 1970 album Cosmo's Factory.

    "I was at Woodstock 1969. I think. It was a nice event," Fogerty said during a live show in 2007 introducing the folk-rocker.

    "I'm a California kid. I went up there and saw a whole bunch of really nice young people. Hairy. Colourful.

    "It started to rain, and got really muddy, and then half a million people took their clothes off!

    "Boomer generation making its presence known, I guess. Anyway, then I went home and wrote this song."

  14. Bad Moon Rising

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bad Moon Rising (Official Lyric Video)

    Despite a couple of album chart-toppers, Creedence never had a Billboard Hot 100 number one single.

    They had a sprinkling elsewhere in the world, including the much-covered 'Bad Moon Rising', which topped the UK singles chart, going one better than its US placing.

    It was the lead single from the Green River album and apparently inspired by a dangerous hurricane in 1941 movie The Devil and Daniel Webster.

    "It wasn't until the band was learning the song that I realized the dichotomy," Fogerty said about the track.

    "Here you've got this song with all these hurricanes and blowing and raging ruin and all that, but it's 'I see a bad moon rising'.

    "It's a happy-sounding tune, right? It didn't bother me at the time."

  15. Proud Mary

    Creedence Clearwater Revival - Proud Mary (Official Lyric Video)

    Sure, Ike and Tina Turner's 1971 cover is an absolute stone cold classic, but the Creedence Clearwater Revival original released a couple of years earlier is every bit as wonderful.

    It even did better than Tina at the time – Creedence scored a number two hit single (Ike and Tina only reached number four, despite bagging a Grammy for their take).

    The lead single from the band's second album Bayou Country, 'Proud Mary' was written in the two days after he was discharged from the National Guard, working on some riffs he put together in concert and piecing together some lyrics he had around.

    It all came together to make a pounding bluesy anthem that has more than stood the test of time.