Green River (album)

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This article is about the album. For the title track of the album, see Green River (song). For the band of the same name, see Green River (band).
Green River
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Green River.jpg
Studio album by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Released August 3, 1969[1]
Recorded March - June 1969[2] at Wally Heider Studios in San Francisco, California[3]
Genre Roots rock, swamp rock, country rock
Length 29:25
Label Fantasy
Producer John Fogerty[4]
Creedence Clearwater Revival chronology
Bayou Country
Green River
Willy and the Poor Boys
Singles from Green River
  1. "Bad Moon Rising"/"Lodi"
    Released: April 1969[1]
  2. "Green River"/"Commotion"
    Released: July 1969[1]

Green River is the third studio album by American rock and roll band Creedence Clearwater Revival, released in August 1969 after their second release Bayou Country which was released in January of the same year (see 1969 in music). In 2003, the album was ranked number 95 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[5] It features two of the band's best-known songs, "Bad Moon Rising" and the title track. The album was remastered and reissued on 180 Gram Vinyl by Analogue Productions in 2006.


In January 1969, Creedence Clearwater Revival released their second studio album Bayou Country and released their breakout single "Proud Mary" backed with "Born on the Bayou", which reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.[1][6] Producer and primary songwriter John Fogerty was the driving creative force, which would record three albums in 1969 alone. The band's single-mindedness and work ethic drew the ire of some other San Francisco-based bands, with drummer Doug Clifford recalling to Jeb Wright of Goldmine in 2013, "We went to see the local bands and they were so stoned they weren’t even in tune and they were really terrible...We made a pact on the floor of the Fillmore, right then, where we would do no drugs or alcohol. We decided to get high on the music, or get out of the business." Going against the grain at the times, Creedence eschewed the acid-inspired free-form jams favored by many rock bands for tightly-structured roots music with an unmistakable rockabilly edge. "I didn't like the idea of those acid-rock, 45-minute guitar solos," Fogerty explained to Uncut's David Cavanagh in 2012. "I thought music should get to the point a little more quickly than that." Their musical discipline, coupled with Fogerty's prolific songwriting, would catapult the band to super-stardom.


CCR's third studio album includes two of their biggest hits, "Bad Moon Rising" and "Green River," both of which peaked on the U.S. chart at #2, as well as the highly regarded "Lodi" (#52) and "Commotion" (#30).[1]"Bad Moon Rising" is notable for its jaunty, happy music juxtaposed with its dark, ominous lyrics. It was inspired by a scene in the film The Devil and Daniel Webster involving a hurricane, with John Fogerty stating that the words told of "the apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us. It wasn't until the band was learning the song that I realized the dichotomy. Here you got this song with all these hurricanes and blowing and raging ruin and all that, but...It's a happy-sounding tune, right?[7] Regarding the title track, Fogerty recalled in 1993:

"Green River" is really about this place where I used to go as a kid on Putah Creek, near Winters, California. I went there with my family every year until I was ten. Lot of happy memories there. I learned how to swim there. There was a rope hanging from the tree. Certainly dragonflies, bullfrogs. There was a little cabin we would stay in owned by a descendant of Buffalo Bill Cody. That's the reference in the song to Cody Jr. The actual specific reference, "Green River," I got from a soda pop-syrup label. You used to be able to go into a soda fountain, and they had these bottles of flavored syrup. My flavor was called Green River. It was green, lime flavored, and they would empty some out over some ice and pour some of that soda water on it, and you had yourself a Green River. [8]

In 2012, Fogerty stated:

What really happened is that I used a setting like New Orleans, but I would actually be talking about things from my own life. Certainly a song like "Green River" – which you may think would fit seamlessly into the Bayou vibe, but it's actually about the Green River, as I named it – it was actually called Putah Creek by Winters, California. It wasn't called Green River, but in my mind I always sort of called it Green River. All those little anecdotes are part of my childhood, those are things that happened to me actually, I just wrote about them and the audience shifted at the time and place.[9]

The sombre "Lodi" did not make the Top 40 but went on to become a rock radio staple and a fan favorite. It describes the plight of a down-and-out musician whose career has landed him playing a gig in the town of Lodi (pronounced "low-die"), a small agricultural city in California's Central Valley about 70 miles from Fogerty's hometown of Berkeley. After playing in local bars, the narrator finds himself stranded and unable to raise bus or train fare to leave.[10] Fogerty later said he had never actually visited Lodi before writing the song, and simply picked it for the song because it had "the coolest sounding name."[11] However, the song unquestionably references the town's reputation as an uninteresting farm settlement (the song's chorus, "Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again," has been the theme of several city events in Lodi).[11] "Commotion" has been cited as a metaphor for the social and political unrest that America was experiencing at the time Fogerty asserted in 2012 to Uncut, "I didn’t think 'Commotion' was social commentary, ’cause all this stuff was just in the air. I realized it wasn’t 'Blue Suede Shoes,' but, trust me, if I could’ve written 'Blue Suede Shoes,' I would’ve sold my soul for it. But I was writing about what was in the air, and that was what came out of me. I was just doing what came naturally." Other significant tracks on the album include the lament "Wrote a Song For Everyone," which, according to the VH1 Legends episode on the group, deals with Fogerty's failing marriage, and the Ray Charles cover "The Night Time Is the Right Time," continuing the Creedence tradition of including classic R&B and early rock and roll songs on their studio albums, as they had with Dale Hawkins' "Susie Q" (1968's Creedence Clearwater Revival) and Little Richard's "Good Golly Miss Molly" (1969's Bayou Country). In 2012 Uncut called "Cross Tie Walker" "a quintessential Johnny Cash two-step with a nifty bassline and a tale about a hobo hopping a train and starting a new life." Although Fogerty was producing, arranging and writing all the songs at this point, as well as handling lead guitar and singing duties, bassist Stu Cook insisted to Bill Kopp of, "We didn't always play the parts we were given. John showed us lots of stuff he wanted specifically in songs; songwriters often do that. They come up with a song, they have an arrangement they want to hear. Some things are important, and other things are less important. We had a sufficient amount of latitude in writing and arranging our parts." Although he has always maintained that the band's artistic vision was solely his own, Fogerty himself conceded to Rolling Stone's Michael Goldberg in 1993, "Probably ninety-nine percent of the tracks we did as a quartet are played live with all four guys playing at the same room. I've heard the rumor over the years that 'after they left the studio, John went in and re-recorded all the parts.' No. I think the charm of what you hear on those records is four guys really playing." However, Fogerty has always maintained that the vision for Creedence was solely his; in 1998 he asserted to Harold Steinblatt of Guitar World, "Many times - in fact, most of the time - they never heard the melodies until after the record came out...I showed the band how each part went - I showed them the music that fit the song I had written."

The recordings for Green River lasted until June.[2] Prior to recording their new album in March,[2] Creedence conducted a test session at the recently built Wally Heider Studios where they recorded three instrumental test tracks (two of which, "Broken Spoke Shuffle" and "Glory Be", are included in the 2008 remastered CD).[3] The recordings for Green River lasted until June.[2]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[12]

Rolling Stone called it "a great album" with the reviewer further stating "they are now creating the most vivid American rock since Music from Big Pink".[13] Allmusic gave the album 5 stars (out of 5) with Stephen Thomas Erlewine stating: "If anything, CCR's third album Green River represents the full flower of their classic sound initially essayed on its predecessor, Bayou Country.[2] John fogerty has stated many times that Green river is his favorite Creedence album, telling Tom Pinnock of Uncut in 2013, "“Green River” was my favourite song from the Creedence era, because it really had the whole Sun Records vibe to me – and the album, too."

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by John Fogerty, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Green River"   2:36
2. "Commotion"   2:44
3. "Tombstone Shadow"   3:39
4. "Wrote a Song for Everyone"   4:57
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Bad Moon Rising"     2:21
2. "Lodi"     3:13
3. "Cross-Tie Walker"     3:20
4. "Sinister Purpose"     3:23
5. "The Night Time Is the Right Time"   Nappy Brown, Ozzie Cadena, Lew Herman 3:09


Creedence Clearwater Revival[edit]




Year Chart Position
1969 Billboard R&B Albums #26[6]
Billboard 200 #1[6]
RPM Top Albums #2[15]
1970 UK Albums Chart #20[16]


Year Single Position
Billboard Hot 100[17] UK Singles Chart[18] RPM Top Singles
April 1969 "Bad Moon Rising" #2 #1 #5[19]
"Lodi" #52
July 1969 "Green River" #2 #19 #5[20]
"Commotion" #30
Preceded by
Blind Faith by Blind Faith
Billboard 200 number-one album
October 4–31, 1969
Succeeded by
Abbey Road by The Beatles


  1. ^ a b c d e Chronicle, Vol. 1 Fantasy Records Compact Disc Catalog #FCD-CCR2-2 Liner notes
  2. ^ a b c d e f Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Green River (album) at AllMusic. Retrieved 1 November 2004.
  3. ^ a b c d "Artist" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  4. ^ "John Fogerty Recordings". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  5. ^ Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "95 | Green River - Creedence Clearwater Revival". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Retrieved 21 May 2006. 
  6. ^ a b c Creedence Clearwater Revival > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums at AllMusic. Retrieved 1 November 2004.
  7. ^ Michael Goldberg (1993). Jann S. Wenner, ed. "Fortunate Son: John Fogerty - The 1993 Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone (United States: Jann S. Wenner). Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  8. ^ Michael Goldberg (1993). Jann S. Wenner, ed. "Fortunate Son: John Fogerty - The 1993 Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone (United States: Jann S. Wenner). Retrieved January 24, 2011. 
  9. ^ Greene, Andy. Q&A: John Fogerty on All-Star Duets LP, Unlikely Creedence Reunion, Rolling Stone, May 4, 2012
  10. ^ Janovitz, Bill. "Lodi". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  11. ^ a b Farrow, Ross. "Residents are proud to be ‘Stuck in Lodi’". Lodi News-Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2006-10-31. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  12. ^ Walters, Barry (October 2, 2008). "Creedence: Back to the Bayou". Rolling Stone (1062). p. 74. Archived from the original on 4 April 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  13. ^ Miroff, Bruce (October 18, 1969). "Creedence Clearwater Revival Green River > Album Review". Rolling Stone (44). Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  14. ^ Green River > Credits at AllMusic. Retrieved October 4, 2010.
  15. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  16. ^ "Creedence Clearwater Revival - Green River". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2012-05-26. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  17. ^ Green River - Creedence Clearwater Revival > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles at AllMusic. Retrieved 1 November 2004.
  18. ^ "Creedence Clearwater Revival". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  19. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  20. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2012-01-06. 

External links[edit]