John Fogerty, Tom Fogerty, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford had a band since 1959, first named The Blue Velvets and then The Golliwogs. But it was in 1968 that things really started when their name changed to Creedence Clearwater Revival. With a short career that had only seven studio albums released the band was able to cause a huge impact in music. Until today they are one of the most influential bands of all time.
They have sold an estimated amount of more than 45 million records only in the United States and continue to be discovered by younger generations. But what is the meaning of their name Creedence Clearwater Revival? The band’s guitarist, singer and main songwriter John Fogerty answered that question.
What Creedence Clearwater Revival means according to John Fogerty
After a couple of months thinking about a new name for the band, it was John Fogerty who got the right idea on Christmas eve. He recalled that story in a video posted on his social networks in 2023 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage).
“We go back to the Christmas eve of 1967 and we were desperately trying to find a new name for our band. We had been named The Golliwogs by the record company. But now the record label had a new owner and the first thing that we wanted to get straight was (that) we wanted to have a new name. For a couple of months we have been scratching our heads and really nothing has resonated.”
“On Christmas eve 1967 I was watching television and on comes this beautiful commercial. It was a beer commercial and it was showing scenes of an idyllic green forest with a babbling brook, wonderful green trees and plants. Water just dripping down everywhere and it was so lush and wonderful, I loved it. Right after that commercial there was another commercial in black and white. It was an anti pollution commercial and it showed things like Styrofoam cups and cigarette butts. Stuff like that in the water.”
“It talked about how our rivers were being polluted. At the end of that black and white commercial it said: ‘If you wanna change this write to clean water Washington. After seeing the beautiful lush forest I thought about it a minute and I like the idea of clean water. But in my mind it turned over and decided that ‘Clearwater’ was a better word. Now, once I said that, I said: ‘Man, this might be onto something’.”
“And literally within 10, 15 seconds I said to myself, well Creedence was a name that had come up and down a couple of times in the last two months. (Then I thought): ‘Wow, Clearwater Creedence”. Of course I swapped that over ‘Creedence Clearwater” and I got really excited. (I thought) ‘I love that idea but it’s not complete’. We’re trying to have a revitalization, a renewal, a revival! Creedence Clearwater Revival and that was about 56 years ago and people are still saying that,” John Fogerty said.
They really didn’t like being called The Golliwogs, which was a name forced by their first record label. Fogerty already recalled that they were embarrassed when people asked them the name of the band. But since it was the only way that they would be able to record something they tried to continue even though they didn’t really like that name.
As Creedence, the band was active for only four years, from 1968 to 1972. The only time they reunited was at Tom Fogerty’s wedding party in 1980. Since then John Fogerty focused on his solo career and recently bought back his songwriting rights. Stu Cook and Doug Clifford toured as Creedence Clearwater Revisited and also wrote solo records.