What Is The Meaning Of Creedence Clearwater Revival's Band Name?

Creedence Clearwater Revival was led by singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Fogerty, working alongside his brother Tom, as well as Doug Clifford and Stu Cook. Creedence — CCR — was "at the dawn of the '70s ... the biggest band in the world — a brilliant and driven hit machine with deep roots in American tradition," according to Uncut magazineAll Music notes that the band "brought rock back to its roots with a concise synthesis of rockabilly, swamp pop, R&B, and country." They released their first, self titled album in 1968 and went on to have several hit singles, including "Suzie-Q," "Proud Mary," "Bad Moon Rising," and "Down On the Corner." They continue to sell music to this day; as reported by Billboard, CCR's Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits reached number 18 in November of 2020. Their time as a band lasted just four years; in 1971, Tom Fogerty left, and the remaining members recorded one more album as a trio before dissolving in 1972. 

So where did the name Creedence Clearwater Revival come from? Was there a preliminary Creedence Clearwater that was then revived?

The earliest version of the band actually started in the late 1950s as the Blue Velvets, which was led by Tom Fogerty and included John Fogerty, Doug Clifford, and Stu Cook. According to All Music, the Blue Velvets formed at El Cerrito High School in California and played at teenagers' dances before moving up to local clubs, which led to recording one single, "Bonita," in 1963. 

What's in a name, anyway?

In 1964, they signed a contract with Fantasy Records, who renamed them the Golliwogs and attempted to model them after English bands driving the British Invasion, with little success.

In 1967, the band renamed themselves Creedence Clearwater Revival, a name inspired, per Uncut, by three different sources. "Creedence" came from an acquaintance of the band, a man named Creedence Newball. "Clearwater" came from a beer commercial, and "Revival" apparently "signified a rebooting of their youthful ambitions and a return to '50s rock'n'roll values." Tom left the band in 1971 and died in 1990, reports the Houston Chronicle. The remaining members continued as a trio for about a year before the band dissolved for good.

The name later became a source of contention between the former bandmates, with John Fogerty first suing Clifford, Cook, and Patricia Fogerty, the widow of his deceased brother Tom, in 1996 for touring under the name "Creedence Clearwater Revisited," as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. That suit was settled in 2001, but Clifford, Cook, and Patricia Fogerty went on to sue John Fogerty in 2014, stating he'd "breached the settlement agreement by publicly condemning use of 'Revisited,"" and claiming that John Fogerty's use of the phrase "performs the albums of Creedence Clearwater Revival" to advertise his own shows caused "confusion among the consuming public." John Fogerty's website indicates that he'll be touring well into 2021, and though it doesn't mention the albums of Creedence Clearwater Revival, we can hope a few CCR songs will be a part of the show.