Creedence Week No 1 - Lodi
It may seem incredible now, but Creedence Clearwater Revival were voted the world’s number one band in the NME’s respected reader’s poll in 1970. This poll had since 1963 for 7 years been dominated by the Beatles, (with the exception of 1966 when they had been pushed into second place by the Beach Boys).
I remember that everyone presumed the Stones would come out on top and we were all staggered that it was Creedence Clearwater Revival. But looking back it’s not so surprising: in the back end of the sixties US rock – particularly West Coast music – had been winning back the high ground, but there was a real feeling that CCR were takin us all back to rock roots. There seemed to be an authenticity about their music to us Brits, redolent of the deep south, despite the fact that they were as Californian as the Beach Boys and the Byrds.
And they go back to basics, deliberately adopting a sort of Mississippi swamp rock style, - just a tight, four piece band, no orchestra, no frills, lead, bass rhythm guitars and drums. And the haunting lead vocal of John Fogerty.
John Fogerty wrote all the songs, played lead guitar, sang and worked out all the arrangements. On most of the pictures of the band there are three wizened hairy bearded guys and one junior looking one with a fresh face and neat long hair that almost looks too neat, like that of a high school girl that was a little too straight. That’s the weird thing – John Fogerty has one of the most haunting voices in all of rock: gritty, sad, as though he carries with it the memory of a long, hard life
Here he tells the story of how hard it was to make it in rock music, but listen to this, and even if you couldn’t understand English, you’d know this was about lonely nights in single-bed-only motels, bad gigs where no-one took any notice of you or maybe about working for a local Council where no-one really gave a **** about anyone else or how hard they were really working.
Well things got bad and things got worse
Guess you know the tune
Oh Lord –
stuck in Lodi again.
In short, life, and the moment when we forget our original dreams and aspirations and are weighed down by the daily grind.
Lodi isn’t just a no-hope town in the middle of nowhere, it’s a metaphor for dashed hopes, for being washed up. Fogerty, is on the point of giving up, but he still hasn’t the money to even do that, chuck it in and go home.
If I only had a dollar
for every song I sung
every time I’ve had to play while people sat there drunk
you know I’d catch the next train
back to where I live
And we all feel like that from time to time, on the tredmill, mortgages, rent, sitting day after day at our desks, unappreciated, wondering how we've wound up were we have, but at least we’ve got this catchy song and the misery of John Fogerty telling us he’s got it worse than us to console us. Which is of course what Fogerty is doing, singing away those blues, consoling himself.
Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again.