|Single by Creedence Clearwater Revival|
|from the album Bayou Country|
|B-side||"Born on the Bayou"|
|Format||7" 45 RPM|
|Recorded||1968 at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California|
|Genre||Roots rock, swamp rock|
|Creedence Clearwater Revival singles chronology|
"Proud Mary" is a rock song written by John Fogerty and first recorded by his band Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song was released by Fantasy Records as a single from the band's second studio album, Bayou Country, which was released by the same record company in January 1969. The single is generally considered to have been released in early January 1969  although at least one source states that it came out just before Christmas 1968. The song became a major hit in the United States, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1969, the first of five non-consecutive singles to peak at #2 for the group.
Background and recording
In a 1969 interview, Fogerty said that he wrote it in the two days after he was discharged from the National Guard. In the liner notes for the 2008 expanded reissue of Bayou Country, Joel Selvin explained that the songs for the album started when John Fogerty was in the National Guard, that the riffs for "Proud Mary," "Born on the Bayou," and "Keep on Chooglin'" were conceived by Fogerty at a concert in the Avalon Ballroom, and "Proud Mary" was arranged from parts of different songs, one of which was about a "washerwoman named Mary." The line "Left a good job in the city" was written following Fogerty's discharge from the National Guard, and the line "rollin' on the river" was from a movie by Will Rogers.
In the Macintosh program "Garage Band," Fogerty explained that he liked Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, and wanted to open a song with a similar intro, inferring the way "Proud Mary" opens with the repeated C chord to A chord. The basic track for "Proud Mary," as with the other songs on the album, was recorded by John Fogerty (lead guitar), Tom Fogerty (rhythm guitar), Stu Cook (bass), and Doug Clifford (drums) at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California, with John overdubbing instruments and all the vocals later.
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||1|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||8|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||4|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||8|
|US Billboard Hot 100||2|
Solomon Burke version
|Single by Solomon Burke|
|from the album Proud Mary|
In 1969 Burke had a small hit with his cover of the song, which was his second release for Bell and was co-produced by singer Tamiko Jones, who was being rehabilitated after a bout of polio, and was at the time Burke's fiance and manager. Burke recalls: “We went to Muscle Shoals and recorded Proud Mary, which they didn’t like at all. They thought it was stupid to record a song Proud Mary, which was already on the charts. I was explaining to them that it was a very big record, but it’s a very white record, a pop record. We will redo the record, open up the doors for it to get on the r&b charts and make the black stations to play the record... It was a Solomon Burke record made in Muscle Shoals. We proved that we can make a hit record without Jerry Wexler eating sandwiches with us. This record was a hit without anybody’s help. Proud Mary was only promoted by Tamiko Jones and myself.” According to Mark Denning, "While that may have seemed like a bald-faced bid for pop radio play, in Burke's hands the song became a bracing tale of life in the Deep South as African-Americans searched for liberation aboard the ship that carried them as slaves and put them to undignified labor serving wealthy whites."
John Fogerty, the song's composer, was impressed by Burke's version of his song: "Two thousand miles away this man had crawled right up inside my head to learn what Proud Mary was all about. Sure, it's great when someone sings your song, but when he understands it, you listen like it was the first time." "Reworked as a celebration of black consciousness, his potent mix of gospel and country – the kind that defined his earlier sides for Atlantic – and driven by a Southern funk-like strut, .... it returned Burke to the US R&B Top 20", with the single reaching #15 on the R&B charts and #45 on the pop charts. According to Burke in a 2002 interview: "I was in Vegas for sixteen weeks at the Sands Hotel. I missed this record being a hit, because we weren’t there to promote the record, we had no backing. The greatest thing I ever did was tell Ike Turner, “Hey man, you should get on this record… I think you and Tina could tear this thing up.” On 24 May 1969 Burke sang his version of "Proud Mary" on American Bandstand.
Tina Turner versions
|Single by Ike & Tina Turner|
|from the album Workin' Together|
|Released||January 30, 1971|
|Recorded||1970, Los Angeles, California|
|Genre||Funk rock, soul|
3:15 (7" version)
|Ike & Tina Turner singles chronology|
|Single by Tina Turner|
|from the album
What's Love Got to Do With It
|Released||November 19, 1993|
|Producer(s)||Chris Lord-Alge, Tina Turner, Roger Davies|
|Tina Turner singles chronology|
Ike & Tina Turner first covered "Proud Mary" in 1970. This version was released as a single from their Workin' Together album and the song differed greatly from the structure of the original, but is also well known and has become one of Tina Turner's most recognizable signature songs. The Turners' version was substantially rearranged by Soko Richardson and Ike Turner. The song started off with a slow, sultry soulful tone in which Tina introduced the song and warned the audience that she and the band were gonna start it off "nice and easy" as "we never do nothing nice and easy" but said they would finish it "nice and rough". After the lyrics are first sung softly by the Turners, the song is then turned into a funk rock vamp with Tina and the Ikettes delivering gospel-influenced vocals. It reached #4 on the pop charts on March 27, 1971, two years to the week after Creedence Clearwater Revival's version was at its peak, and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group in 1972.
In the Tina Turner biopic, What's Love Got to Do with It, the song is performed in a timeline of events in Ike and Tina's career in which the couple are transformed from an opening act to The Rolling Stones to a major headlining act by the mid-1970s. However, the film took significant liberties with that timeline; for instance, the film has the group performing the song in 1968 when they reportedly opened for The Stones in the UK, but the Turners didn't open for them until 1969 and "Proud Mary" had not yet been released by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Following the original version's release and its success, Ike and Tina included the song in their live act and first performed a version of the song on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was also performed in 1971 (the year of the Turners' version's release), on April 22, 1972 on Soul Train, and 1974.
In 1988, a live solo version was included on the album Tina Live in Europe. Tina Turner later re-recorded the song in the studio for the biopic's 1993 soundtrack album of the same name. This version was released as a promotional single issued to radio stations and DJs. Tina's solo version was later included on her 2004 greatest hits album All the Best. After a contestant's performance of the song on The X Factor in 2010, this version entered the UK Singles Chart at #62 and fell to #121 the next week, it also entered the Scottish Singles Chart at #40.
Another live version was released in 2009 on the Tina Live album. It was recorded on March 21, 2009 in Arnhem, Netherlands as part of Turner's 50th Anniversary Tour. The song has now become a staple in all of Tina's live shows, including live duet versions with Beyoncé and Cher.
Ike & Tina Turner version
|Canadian RPM 100 Singles||11|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||4|
|U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Songs||5|
Tina Turner version
|Scottish Singles Chart||40|
|UK Singles Chart||62|
"Proud Mary" placed at #155 on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Both CCR and Ike & Tina Turner's versions of the song received Grammy Hall of Fame Awards, in 1998 and 2003, respectively.
"Proud Mary" has, over the years, been covered by a number of artists, including an early recording by Solomon Burke, and one by Ed Ames on his 1969 Windmills of Your Mind album. Anthony Armstrong Jones' 1969 version reached number 22 on the U.S. country charts. Also in 1969, version recorded by the Checkmates, Ltd. and produced by Phil Spector reached #30 on the U.K. Singles Chart. Spiral Starecase released a version of the song on their 1969 debut album, More Today Than Yesterday. Soul singer Billy Paul's version appears on his 1970 album Ebony Woman. The Osmonds released a version of the song on their 1971 album, The Osmonds Live.
|“||Me and my band worked on Route 35 outside of Asbury Park, at a club called the Pandemonium...it was five 50-minute sets a night and rarely a night without a fight. But into New Jersey came the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival and for three minutes and seven seconds of "Proud Mary," a very strained brotherhood would actually fill the room. It was simply a great song that everybody liked and it literally saved our asses on many occasions.||”|
In addition to playing "Proud Mary" live with his early band, Child, Springsteen performed the song twice with the E Street Band during The River Tour in 1981, and several times from 1982 to 1987 at small clubs, including The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Elvis Presley also often performed the song in his Las Vegas shows and on tour in the early 1970s. Versions can be found on the albums On Stage (1970), Elvis: As Recorded at Madison Square Garden (1972) and An Afternoon in the Garden (1972). The song was also performed in the Golden Globe-winning concert film Elvis on Tour (1972).
George Jones and Johnny Paycheck covered the song on their 1980 album Double Trouble. In 1996, "Proud Mary" was covered by Status Quo on their album Don't Stop and Polish thrash metal band Acid Drinkers recorded it on their 1998 album High Proof Cosmic Milk. In 2010, Marco Mengoni performed the song during his Italian 'Re Matto Tour'.
In 2004, Australian Idol season 2 finalist Ricki-Lee Coulter performed "Proud Mary" on the Final 10 60s Night. She received fantastic comments from the judges for this performance and was voted safe on the following verdict show. Ricki-Lee also covered this song on Australian Idol Season 2: The Final 10 Cast Album. The song was also covered three times American Idol. It was covered in 2003 by Trenyce, in 2008 by Syesha Mercado, and in 2012 by Jessica Sanchez. All three were declared safe the next day. In 2009 the song was sung by Rachel Adedeji and Misha B on The X Factor.
Mi Banda El Mexicano recorded a Spanish-language version called "Mary La Orgullosa" for their 1993 album El baile del caballito, as did Banda Pachuco for their 1994 debut album Pachuco Bailarin.
Swiss hard-rock band China recorded a rendition on their 1991 live album titled "Live".
The 2011 drama film Bringing Up Bobby includes a version of "Proud Mary" (based on Ike & Tina Turner's rendition) sung by lead actress Milla Jovovich in her native language, Ukrainian. The recording plays in the background at the beginning of the film.
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