The Top 10 Need-to-Know Creedence Clearwater Revival Songs (That Aren’t “Fortunate Son” or “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?”)

Creedence Clearwater Revival perfected a flavor of Southern-swamp rock, thick with guttural blues and tinged with blue-eyed soul.

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It took almost a decade—and three name changes—for the band to see success. They burned bright from the release of their 1968 self-titled album only to combust too soon, disbanding in 1972. Those four years, however, saw hit after timeless hit. Their music launched the group to legendary status and changed rock and roll forever.

Having soundtracked the decline of free love and the rise of war, CCR’s music has become synonymous with a certain place in time. The opening drum beat of “Fortunate Son”—a hollow, pulsating rhythm like helicopter blades slicing the thick jungle air—along with John Fogerty’s rapturous tenor pierce through most every Vietnam War-set blockbuster.

With a catalog of catchy, instantly-recognizable earworms, the band’s music has also seeped into many aspects of today’s culture. Nothing says “Summer Blowout Sale” like Stu Cook’s snappy bass lines with songs like “Down On The Corner” known to groove up a commercial or two.

Many of CCR’s songs are inescapable and for good reason – the band made great music to last. “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” they’ve all become standards, and their compositions are looked to as a framework for today’s rock music. But just a handful of their biggest hits tend to overshadow the rest of their incredible songbook.

Classics aside, here are 10 need-to-know Creedence hits.

10. “Green River

From the 1969 album of the same name, “Green River” hooks you in the first four seconds. Plucky strings meet loping beat, giving way to a Deep South sound and evoking the unforgiving heat of a Southern summer. John Fogerty’s lyrics—sounding muddied and languid in his mouth—add to the sultriness of the track. The song encapsulates the band’s trademark style of bayou rock mixed with vivid storytelling.

9. “Susie Q

A haunting groove kicks off “Susie Q,” a swamp boogie standard originally by Dale Hawkins. Appearing on their self-titled album, CCR’s version is a tip of the hat to the rockabilly sound of the original with a Fogerty flair of throaty Oh, Susie Qs. This song was the band’s first big hit and the only Top 40 hit not written by the lead singer.

8. “Born On The Bayou

Despite the band having rarely traveled to the Southern United States, “Born on the Bayou” is filled with the region’s humidity with every hammered steel string. Drum hits spark like fireflies alongside dark, stormy vocals. The song is magic, borrowing some of its backwater mysticism from blues musicians like Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters.

7. “Lodi

If I only had a dollar for every song I sung… The upbeat arrangement is tinged with melancholy and seems to quiver restlessly along with the vocals. The lead single from the album Green River, “Lodi” is about a down-and-out musician having to play bar gigs in the small agricultural community that is Lodi, California. The character finds himself stranded in the Central Valley town, unable to raise bus fare home.

6. “Hey Tonight

The opening guitar riff counts off the song like the “Ready, Set, Go” into a racing beat, taking off like a shot from there. You can’t just listen to “Hey Tonight,” you’ve got a turn it up and risk losing a little hearing. It’s worth it. A classic on CCR’s 1971 album, Pendulum, the song sounds anthemic, like the theme song for late nights and sheer freedom.

5. “Porterville

“Porterville” was written while John Fogerty was serving in the Army. In Bad Moon Rising: The Unofficial History of Creedence Clearwater Revival, the frontman recalled, “I went into the Army in early ’67, and they got you marching all day out on an asphalt parade field about a mile square. And during all that marching, I would get delirious, and my mind would start playing little stories … So I ended up writing the song ‘Porterville’ while I’m stomping around in the sun.”

The ominous rhythm beats down like hot sun and a bit of that deliriousness can be heard in the sharp harmonies that repeat I don’t care over and over in the background.

4. “Run Through The Jungle

A song that opens and closes with “jungle sound effects” created by a recorded guitar and piano riffs played backward, “Run Through The Jungle” is both eerie and enchanting.

When the song was released on Cosmo’s Factory in 1970, many believed the song was about the Vietnam War. However, the lead singer explained in a 2016 interview, that the tune was actually written about gun control.

3. “Commotion

Delightfully chaotic, “Commotion” is just that. Raucous rockabilly riffs meet restless, stammering lyrics for a foot-tapping good time in another Green River classic.

2. “Long As I Can See The Light

Slow and soulful—a rarity among this list—”Long As I Can See The Light” is blues through and through. Cosmo’s Factory gave us greats like “Up Around the Bend,” “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” and “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” but this one is goosebump-inducing. The arrangement is subtle and steady, but Fogerty belts this tune like it’s the last song he’ll ever sing.

1. “Ramble Tamble

Another from the aforementioned Factory, “Ramble Tamble” rocks like no other. The band sounds tight like they’re all pieces in one big wind-up toy that’s just been released. Its all-over-the-place production is punctuated by a distorted solo after a convoluted jam, making the lengthy song dramatic and complicated. But hey, so is rock and roll.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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