You know a song has staying power when current events make you think of it, even though it was written over 40 years ago. “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of those songs. Everytime I hear politicians eager to send troops into harm’s way, I tend to think that very few of them have had sons or daughters placed in harm’s way. This may be why many of us are so perturbed by the fabrication of weapons of mass destruction by the Bush/ Cheney leadership team, as Americans and our allied troops died for a false pretense. Here is a sample of the meaningful lyrics:
Some folks are born made to wave the flag. Ooh, they’re red, white and blue.
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief” Oh, they point the cannon at you, Lord. It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no Senator’s son. It ain’t me, it ain’t me. I ain’t no fortunate one, no.
This song was an anthem for its time, but Creedence Clearwater Revival, had so many more. John Fogerty, his brother Tom, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford formed CCR back in San Francisco in the mid-late Sixties. They usually are voted one of the greatest American bands for good reason. Their music and impactful lyrics resonate with so many and are reflective of America from its bayous to its towns. In fact, some refer to their music as “roots rock” or “swamp rock” depending on what source you read. Yet, rock they did and they did it so well, their songs are covered by others. The most noteworthy copy is probably “Proud Mary” which launched Tina Turner to another level with the Ike and Tina Turner Revue’s version.
Two of my favorite songs have the word “rain” in their title. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” is probably voted by many as their favorite. Here is a sample:
Someone told me long ago, there’s a calm before the storm.
I know, it’s been comin’ for some time.
When it’s over, so they say, it’ll rain a sunny day.
I know, shinin’ down like water.
I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain? I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain, comin’ down on a sunny day?
I like this song because of John’s almost crying out, mournful lyrics. His voice seems to be suited for slower songs as they became more enriched. I feel this song is saying life will throw some challenges at you, even when things seem OK. It will even rain on you when things are sunny, so you just take the good with the bad and wake up the next day.
The other rain song is “Who”ll Stop the Rain?” Here are a few lines that resonate:
Long as I remember the rain been comin’ down.
Clouds of mystery pourin’ confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages tryin’ to find the sun
And I wonder, still I wonder who’ll stop the rain?
Unlike the previous song, I feel this one is saying life is hard for some people. They don’t have as many opportunities, so it always seems like it is raining on them. There is an element of luck in where, when and to whom we are born.
One of my favorite songs which I used to sing to my kids while rocking them is “Lodi.” The song speaks of how we journey out to find ourselves, then for some reason get stuck someplace and make do. Lodi is that place.
Just about a year ago, I set out on the road.
Seekin’ my fame and fortune, lookin’ for a pot of gold.
Things got bad, and things got worse, I guess you will know
the tune. Oh ! Lord, Stuck in Lodi again.
CCR’s most famous tune is “Bad Moon Rising” in part because it is one of the most misunderstood lyrics of all time. No, there is not a bathroom on the right – it is “there’s a bad moon on the rise.” This song is telling our Vietnam troops to be wary. They had several Vietnam oriented songs. Here is a sample:
Hope you got your things together. Hope you are quite prepared to die. Looks
like we’re in for nasty weather. One eye is taken for an eye.
Well, don’t go around tonight. Well, it’s bound to take your life. There’s
a bad moon on the rise.
There are many other favorites – “Down on the Corner,” “Green River,” ‘Run Through the Jungle,” and “Commotion” just to name only a few. CCR would not want to be called an American institution, so let’s call them who they are – they are us. We are not fortunate ones and have to work hard for what he get. We get scared and we have things go wrong. And, some of us don’t get as many chances.
For those of you who have never dived into their music and lyrics, you are in for a treat. Their lyrics are still pertinent and poignant. They should be voted one of America’s top bands. As they are.