Lookin' Out My Back Door

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"Lookin' Out My Back Door"
Single by Creedence Clearwater Revival
from the album Cosmo's Factory
B-side "Long As I Can See the Light"
Released July 25, 1970 (1970-07-25)[1]
Format 7" 45 RPM
Genre Southern rock, country rock
Length 2:35
Label Fantasy
Writer(s) John Fogerty
Producer(s) John Fogerty
Creedence Clearwater Revival singles chronology
"Up Around the Bend"
(April 1970)
"Lookin' Out My Back Door"
(July 1970)
"Have You Ever Seen the Rain?"
(January 1971)

"Lookin' Out My Back Door" is a song recorded by the American band Creedence Clearwater Revival, also known as CCR. The song was written by the band's lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter, John Fogerty. The song is included on their 1970 album Cosmo's Factory, the group's fifth album, which was also their fifth and final No. 2 Billboard hit. It was certified Gold and in the early 1990s was also certified Platinum. In 2003 Cosmo's Factory was ranked 265 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 greatest albums of all time. However, the album signaled the decline and subsequent end for the band. "Lookin' Out My Back Door" was a direct tribute to the Bakersfield Sound, a form of music that influenced John Fogerty and the Creedence sound. Buck Owens, one of the architects of the Bakersfield Sound, is even mentioned in the song's lyrics.


After touring Europe in 1970 the band returned to their San Francisco studio and began recording what would be their fifth album, Cosmo's Factory, which is widely credited as their finest. The name of the album came from an inside joke between members referencing the strict “factory” like work ethic they were adopting while practicing and writing. Cosmo came from Doug Clifford’s nickname, which was given to him because of his beliefs and interests in cosmic things. Later, Doug Clifford even named his first solo album Cosmo. After Cosmo's Factory was released in July 1970, "Lookin' Out My Back Door" achieved No. 2 on the Billboard’s Top 100 Hits. It reached number one on the Cash Box chart the week of October 3, 1970, and also reached #1 in Norway. The band's fifth album signaled the beginning of the decline of the band, since tensions had been growing over John Fogerty's control over the band's music and business activities. The decline continued until 1972, when the band officially broke up. The era in which the song "Looking Out My Back Door" and the album "Cosmos Factory" came out marked the height of Creedence Clearwater Revival's popularity.

Song information[edit]

The song is known for its upbeat tempo, its down-home feel, and a signature change in key and tempo towards the end. The song's lyrics, filled with colorful, dream-like imagery, led some to believe that the song was about drugs. According to the drug theory, the "flying spoon" in the song was a cocaine spoon, and the crazy animal images were an acid trip. Fogerty, however, has stated in interviews that the song was actually written for his then three-year-old son, Josh. Fogerty has also said that the reference to a parade passing by was inspired by the Dr. Seuss book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.[2] One of Fogerty's musical influences, Buck Owens, is also mentioned in the song.

"Lookin' Out My Back Door", along with "Long as I Can See the Light" on the flip-side, was released as a single in July 1970. The double sided single, counted as one entry by the methodology used by Billboard magazine at the time, eventually climbed to number two on the Billboard Pop Singles chart (by comparison, "Long as I Can See the Light" only reached number fifty-seven on the concurrent Cash Box singles chart, which still tracked the performance on both sides of a single separately). This marked the fifth (and final) time the group had a double-sided single accomplish that feat on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. The single was held out of the top spot by Diana Ross's cover of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough ("Lookin' Out My Back Door" did top the Cash Box singles chart for one week). "Long as I Can See the Light" also reached #20 on the U.K. Pop chart.

In live performances, Fogerty sometimes changes "tambourines and elephants are playing in the band" to "tangerines and Elvis are playing in the band".[3] In a recent show of Austin City Limits, he added a fiddle to give the song more of a country sound.[citation needed]

In April 2012, Fogerty appeared at the West Coast Blues `n' Roots festival in Australia, where he played songs from some of his most famous albums, such as 1970's Cosmo's Factory.[4]

The song was featured in the Coen Brothers' movie The Big Lebowski and in the 2006 drama We Are Marshall.


In 1973, this song was covered by Hong Kong female singer/organist Ma Chia Nar (馬嘉娜), on her LP album For Mama.There Goes My Everything with the local Life Records.

The Stray Cats performed a cover of the song in 1983.

Finnish Melodic death metal band Children of Bodom performed a cover of this on their album Skeletons in the Closet.

Nothin' Fancy covered the song in 2011.


  1. ^ Bordowitz, Hank (1998). Bad Moon Rising: The Unauthorized History of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Chicago Review Press. p. 98. 
  2. ^ Premonition
  3. ^ "Artists". West Coast Blues 'n' Roots. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 

External links[edit]