…I see trouble on the way

In 1964 an up and coming “juke box standards band” from the Bay Area town of El Cerrito, were offered a record deal by Fantasy Records, an independent jazz label looking to add some rock n’ roll groups to its catalogue.  They called themselves The Blue Velvets and consisted of three guys named, Doug, Stu and John, who had known one another since junior high school, along with John’s older brother Tom who served as lead singer.

When it came time to release the band’s first single one of the label owners asked them to change their name to the Golliwogs (in reference to character featured in a series of 19th Century children’s books popular in England, which then became a popular doll and jam manufacturer “mascot” while also serving as precursor to the offensive racial slur, “wog”) in the belief that it would help to tap into the British Invasion fad then sweeping the States. A number of singles followed, all of them local.

In 1967 Fantasy Records was sold. By this time (younger brother) John, who had begun to write all the group’s material had moved over to lead vocalist, while Tom concentrated on rhythm guitar.  The new owner was impressed and presented them with an opportunity to record a full-length album…if only they would change that name.

There was certainly no argument from the band and to make it interesting they opted to combine a number of elements: Tom had a friend named Credence Newball, whose name they always liked, and for good measure they decided to add in an extra ‘e’ so that it resembled the word “creed”.  Next, they snagged the word “Clearwater” from an Olympia Beer commercial, and lastly they threw in the word “Revival” referring to what they felt was a new commitment to the band.

The resulting 1968 debut album, “Creedence Clearwater Revival” attracted a great deal of national attention with keen musicianship all around, and songwriter, Fogerty’s penchant (despite his Northern California upbringing) for Deep Southern imagery and a “swamp/roots rock” sound. CCR (for short) was well on its way.

Today’s selection, which reached Number 2 on the U.S. Billboard Charts and Number 1 on the UK Singles Chart, was featured on CCR’s third studio album, “Green River” released in 1969.  According to Fogerty the inspiration for writing it came about while he was watching the 1941 film, “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” which features a hurricane scene that got him to thinking about “the apocalypse soon to be visited upon us.”

Although the song’s refrain is “there’s a bad moon on the rise,” it is often misheard as “there’s a bathroom on the right,” and Fogerty himself regularly parodies the mondegreen (“the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase as a result of near homophony”) by singing the misheard version in live performance.


Bad Moon Rising

 I see the bad moon arising.

I see trouble on the way.

I see earthquakes and lightning.

I see bad times today.

 Don’t go around tonight,

Well, it’s bound to take your life,

There’s a bad moon on the rise.

 I hear hurricanes ablowing.

I know the end is coming soon.

I fear rivers over flowing.

I hear the voice of rage and ruin.

 Don’t go around tonight,

Well, it’s bound to take your life,

There’s a bad moon on the rise.

All right!

 Hope you got your things together.

Hope you are quite prepared to die.

Looks like we’re in for nasty weather.

One eye is taken for an eye.

 Don’t go around tonight,

Well, it’s bound to take your life,

There’s a bad moon on the rise.

Don’t go around tonight,

Well, it’s bound to take your life,

There’s a bad moon on the rise.

“There’s a Bathroom on the Right”

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