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Susie Q

by

Creedence Clearwater Revival



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was co-written and originally recorded by Rockabilly singer Dale Hawkins in 1956. His version hit US #27 a year later. Eleanor Broadwater and Stan Lewis wrote it with Hawkins.
This was Creedence Clearwater Revival's first single. They went on to become one of the biggest bands of the late '60s and early '70s.
The Rolling Stones covered this in 1964. Creedence had been playing this at live shows, but stopped when the Stones released their version.
The album version runs 8:39. It evolved into a lengthy jam because the band had to fill long sets at their gigs.
This is the only Creedence hit not written by John Fogerty. They did some popular cover songs, including "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," but this is the only one to hit the Top 40.
This was produced with liberal use of late '60s studio tricks, including wide stereo separation, feedback, and vocal distortion.
When asked what the rhymes are in the latter part of the song, bass player Stu Cook said, "They were just simple rhymes. John hated it when songwriters used simple rhymes just to make things rhyme, so this was a statement against that. It was sort of anti-Dylan." (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada)
This became popular on the West Coast before it was available on vinyl. The band brought a cassette tape of the song to a San Francisco DJ, who played it in appreciation for the group's earlier support of a DJ strike.
Thanks to this, girls named Susie are automatically nicknamed "Susie Q."
The guitar riff on the original version was created by James Burton, who was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2001 as a sideman.
Their record company released their version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' (no relation to Dale) "I Put A Spell On You" at the same time as this. Their next 7 singles hit the Top 4 with their A-sides: "Proud Mary" (#2)/"Born on the Bayou", "Bad Moon Rising" (#2)/"Lodi" (#52), "Green River" (#2)/"Commotion" (#30), "Down on the Corner" (#3)/"Fortunate Son" (#14 the week before BILLBOARD decided to combine both sides into one chart position), "Travelin' Band"/"Who'll Stop the Rain" (#2 combined), "Up Around the Bend"/"Run Through the Jungle" (#4 combined),"Lookin' Out My Back Door"/"Long as I See the Light" (#2 combined). (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL)
The Susie Q was a popular dance step in the '30s. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
The single was titled "Susie Q (part 1)." The B-side was "Susie Q (part 2)."
This is one of the few Creedence songs where vocals of band members besides John Fogerty are heard. You can hear them in the second part of the song. (thanks, Jim - Oxnard, CA)
Creedence Clearwater Revival
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Comments (29):

"Susie Q" was played by AFVN radio in Vietnam in '68 when I was there in the Army. Love it still. While in Vietnam, I got to go on R&R to Singapore and went on a city tour that stopped at a huge huge department store & I bought the album at a record shop in the dept. store. What luck! After I left the Army in '69 & went home, me & my brothers played that same album & Susie Q until the record wore out!! Then our love for CCR continued on for years, until they broke up. But what a band! Still love "Susie Q" for that easy, sleazy, funky swamp music.
- Raunchy, Tulsa, OK
"Susie Q" was the first song I heard that turned me on to CCR. I was in the Army's 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg NC in 1968 & whenever they let us go into town (Fayetteville NC), this was already on local tavern jukeboxes. This was so different....."Swamp Rock" or "Swamp Music" that we loved it and CCR. What a song! I learned that it was co-written by the rockabilly star Dale Hawkins who released his version back in the Fifties. A really great, gritty, funky song to kick-start their career.
- Rotunda, Tulsa, OK
I've seen and/or heard tow versions of who "Susie Q" was. I heard that she was one of the secretaries at the recording studio, and I read (just recently) that Leonard Chess had a daughter named Susan or Susie for short. Either of these is plausible.
- Jonathan, Dallas, TX
My first CCR album was Chronicle, Vol. 1, and this was the lead track. From that moment, I knew I was going to love CCR and still do.
- David, Woburn, MA
Annabelle, I think the title of this song just comes from Suzie Q being used in a lot of blues songs in the 30's and actually, I think, being some sort of a dance step (it's a sort of a heel twist, kind of like The Twist but slower, just imagine yourself twisting with the beat of this song and you got it).
- Matt, Galway, Ireland
Suzie Q, Heard It Through The Grapevine and Ramble Tamble are my 3 favorite CCR recordings
- Lester, New York City, NY
midnight special and cotton fields were also not fogerty originals. steve, victoria, texas
- steve, victoria, TX
another album and song that could be heard in every apartment and dorm during the lsd or drug era.
- steve dotstar, los angeles, CA
Great song from a great band. Get their greatest hits cd if you don't already have it. A lot of great songs on that one!
- Amber, San Francisco, CA
This song is great. A cover of it by Flash Cadalack is featured in my favorite film which is Apocalypse Now
- Martin Sheen, Lima, OH
not a bad song, very simple, but I love the instrumentals
- Confidential, Confidential, NY
I met and interviewed Dale Hawkins at the BB King Museum groundbreaking and homecoming in Indianola, MS a couple of years ago.
- Robert, Snellville, GA
James Burton was around 15 when that was recorded, allegedly using a Rickenbacker guitar, Stuart Cowell
- stuart, galway, Ireland
Midnight Special was first recorded by Led Belly
- Wally, Redondo Beach, CA
Regarding writers of Suzie Q... I was a teenage,striving singer in shreveport very familar with dale hawkins, james burton and stan lewis from the ole skyway club/louisiana hayride days. I later recorded for capitol records and had songs released by gene vincent,tex ritter,etc. I know first hand the true writer id of suzie q....Dale hawkins and james burton! Stan lewis; was owner of a hole in the wall record shop and had connections with l. Chess of chess records. Gene nobles was a powerful d.J. At the powerful wlac in nashville tn associated with payola... Bottom line... It was common practice for striving artist to give writers credit to influential people like stan lewis and noble's wife in order to get a record deal and air play. People who never wrote one word of a song but got writer's credit. So - henceforth when you hear susie q...Think of james and dale as the true writers of this classic! Johnny f
- johnny, SHREVEPORT, LA
HER NAME WAS SUSAN LEWIS FROM SHREVEPORT LOUISIANNA HER FATHER STAN LEWIS WROTE THE SONG.
- john, shreveport, TX
Does anyone know who Suzi Q was??? Was is Suzie Quatro??
- James, Ireland, Ireland
I came home one day from jr high school and heard my mom singing along with Creedence, "Oh Suzie Q". I didn't know that she knew the song from the 1950's. At first I thought she was really with it, but I was wrong. CCR's version is still one of my favorite oldies.
- Tom, Dozier, AL
This is one of the few Creedence songs that (If you have the full version) had a psychadellic sound. They never did it, but it was working for other bands so they decided to try it. Great song
- Spencer, Las Vegas, NV
I know this wans't written by John Fogerty, but don't you think he could write a song as good as this. I know he wrote awesone songs, but he could have written a song that was the band's first hit
- John, Kalamazoo, KY
Joel, that is because it was made in 1956 by Dale Hawkins. Not an original creedence clearwater song. Heard it through the grapevine, and this song are Jam Sessions. Because of this, 'Grapvine is rarely played on the radio.
- Johnny, Los Angeles, CA
Actually this is not the only song not written by John Fogerty: There were three:
Grapevine
Suzie Q
and I Put A Spell On You.

Crow
- Gary, Seattle, WA
This song was used in the cult classic "Apocolypse Now:Redux".
- Matt, Monroe, LA
During one of the solos, Fogerty actually uses Wolf's riff from smokestack lighning
- Ragnar, Ojai, CA
There's a snack cake known as the Susie Q. Maybe this song made these snack cakes popular!
- Annabelle, Eugene, OR
The comment about Creedence not playing this live after the Stones' released their version doesn't make any sense. The Stones' version was off their 12x5 album, release in 1964. CCR didn't release theirs until 1968. If I'm not mistaken, CCR was formed in 1967. Unless I'm missing something, somebody didn't check the facts correctly.
- Joel, Chicago, IL
Used in the made-for-tv Disney movie, apropriately titled 'susie q'. The movie was about a ghost.
- tiga, Mount Carmel, PA
This song is heavily influenced by Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning", similarly George Thorogood's "Bad to the Bone" is a strong reminiscent of Muddy Waters' "Hoochie Coochie Man".
- Brandon, Seattle, WA
The Rolling Stones' version was called "Suzie Q".
- Brett, Edmonton, Canada
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