Can’t Call Your Stuff A Music Collection Without…

Again we’re paying tribute to one of the finest albums of the Baby Boomer era, the landmark 1970 release from Creedence Clearwater Revival: Cosmo’s Factory.

We firmly believe that any serious collection of classic rock music must include this album. The Recording Academy, the premier outlet for honoring achievements in the recording arts, also holds the album in very high regard. In 2014, “to honor recordings of lasting qualitative or historical significance”, they selected Cosmo’s Factory  for enshrinement in the Grammy Hall of Fame. In a related item of achievement, the 1969 CCR single “Fortunate Son” was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2013.

Some critics and music fans have labeled their songs as ‘swamp pop’, but CCR music is more of a ‘swamp rock’ style. Though it really never quite caught on with the mainstream, swamp rock has a large following in Louisiana. The genre came from music in the 1950s and early 1960s, and many of the best swamp rock bands and artists do not hail from Louisiana. Swamp rock has a cult following across the globe and is an active and vibrant subgenre of rock.

With regard to Creedence Clearwater Revival, this is our second encounter with the album on BoomerSwag; in May of this year, we included it in our Castaway Collection, albums that are truly excellent from start to finish.

Three singles found on Cosmo’s Factory rocked the charts in the first half of 1970. “Travelin Band/Who’ll Stop The Rain” stopped climbing the hit list at number two in January, then “Up Around The Bend/Run Through The Jungle” made it to number four in April, while the third single, “Lookin’ Out My Backdoor/Long As I Can See The Light”, also hit number two in July.

The singles came out before the album was released on July 16, 1970, and almost instantly the record became an international smash, topping the charts in six countries. The album achieved Gold status, an early Christmas present for the group, on December 16, 1970, exactly five months after release. Almost twenty years later, on December 13, 1990, it was further certified as four times platinum, with sales of over four million copies.

It was their fifth album in two years and the band was in need of a break. The Cosmo’s Factory sessions had brought to light some of the tensions the foursome underwent as the incessant touring and ever-present recording sessions began to pile up. John Fogerty had wrangled for control of the group in matters of both business and artistic output, to the dismay and objections of the trio of Tom Fogerty, Stu Cook, and Doug Clifford. Fogerty countered, insisting that a “democratic” process would threaten their success. Other sparring factors included Fogerty’s decision at a 1970 gig in Nebraska dictating that the band would no longer perform encores at its live shows.

Creedence Clearwater Revival band photograph from 1968 on BoomerSwag!

Creedence Clearwater Revival – 1968

John Fogerty wrote most of the songs for the project, however, four of the songs are cover versions that were included in the final release. In October 1972, the company that held the publishing rights to Little Richard’s “Good Golly, Miss Molly” felt that “Travelin’ Band” bore enough similarities to warrant a plagiarism lawsuit against Fogerty and the record label that was later settled out of court.

The group held it together until Tom Fogerty resigned in late 1970. The last CCR album, Mardi Gras, was in record stores in April of 1972. Sales were weaker than previous albums, with the final effort ultimately peaking at Number 12 on the album charts. Stu Cook, who earned a business degree, claimed that due to the poor judgment of Fogerty, CCR had to live with perhaps the worst record deal by any major US recording artist. Despite the unremarkable reception of Mardi Gras, and the deteriorated relationships among remaining band members, the group took on a two-month U.S. tour. However, on October 16, 1972, not even six months after the tour ended, both Fantasy Records and the band announced the disbanding of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Creedence Clearwater Revival, which disbanded in 1972, were progressive and anachronistic at the same time. An unapologetic throwback to the golden era of rock and roll, they broke ranks with their peers on the progressive, psychedelic San Francisco scene. Their approach was basic and uncompromising, holding true to the band members’ working-class origins. The term ‘roots rock’ had not yet been invented when Creedence came along, but in a real way they defined it, drawing inspiration from the likes of Little Richard, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and the artisans of soul at Motown and Stax. In so doing, Creedence Clearwater Revival became the standard bearers and foremost celebrants of homegrown American music.” – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The group performed at Woodstock, wrote songs about Vietnam and the waste that it became, and for awhile had the music world by the ear. Sadly, on September 6, 1990, Tom Fogerty died in Scottsdale, Arizona from an AIDS-related tuberculosis infection. Due to the ongoing conflicts among the surviving members of the group, John Fogerty refused to perform with Stu Cook and Doug Clifford at Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The two remaining former CCR members shunned by Fogerty have continued to make music, and today you can catch up with the guys at their website for more current info. John Fogerty also entertains these days as well and you can find him here.

We’ve loved this band and especially this album for many years, and we want your thoughts on the whole thing. Did John Fogerty wield an iron fist that led to the demise of such a great outfit? We vote ‘yeah’ – howbout you?

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