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Rock 100: Creedence Clearwater Revival

Lenny Kaye, David Dalton, Cooper Square Books (reissue), 1999

PSYCHEDELIC MUSIC WAS PEAKING AND rock was undergoing a period of exhaustion in 1968 when Creedence Clearwater Revival arrived out of nowhere with their "lean, clean and bluesy" sound. The most innovative thing about them was that the music they were putting out was over ten years old, but there were no overtones of oldies nostalgia in Creedence's first two singles, Dale Hawkins's 'Susie Q' and Screamin' Jay Hawkin's 'I Put A Spell On You'. With their revival sound, they brought the original energy of rock & roll back into rock. Although their sound was derived from early rock & roll, as if it had been scooped out of some time loop, Creedence sound was more a re-creation than mindless reproduction. Like the early Stones, they came across unornamented, stripped down to the essentials and buzzing with vitality. As John Fogerty told a reporter, "I'm not a seventies press agent for the fifties... all we did was to sort of clean it up and make it not more traditional, just not so darned irritating."

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