Tom Fogerty is John's older brother. He was four years older then the other members and was 18 while the rest were still 14. The band was originally called Tommy Fogerty and the Blue Velvets. They were also known as the Golliwogs before CCR.
They sold millions of records, but never had a #1 hit. They did score five #2 hits on the Hot 100, the most of any act without a #1.
Tom died in 1990 from respiratory failure brought on by tuberculosis.
For a time in the '70s, Cook and Clifford were the rhythm section for various solo artists, including Doug Sahm.
CCR released three platinum albums in 1969: Bayou Country, Green River, and Willy And The Poorboys.
They lost a Battle of the Bands competition once to the Count Five, who later had a hit with "Psychotic Reaction."
When CCR was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Tom Fogerty's wife brought his ashes in her purse.
They performed at Woodstock at three in the morning, following the Grateful Dead. They were so unhappy with their performance that they forbade the use of it in the Woodstock motion picture and anything promoting the movie. They didn't want their performance on the album, either, but Fantasy Records sealed the deal by not agreeing on royalties, which made sure they were not included on the album.
They formed as the Blue Velvets in 1959 while John Fogerty, Doug "Cosmo" Clifford, and Stu Cook were still in Potola Junior High School (El Cerrito, California). By 1961, they were backing local artists at sock hops, county fairs, and recording studios.
In 1959, Tom Fogerty's first band, Spider Webb and the Insects, broke up. Tom started a solo career by asking his little brother's friends if they could back him up when he was cutting demo records. Because John didn't do much singing at the time, the Blue Velvets were primarily an instrumental band at the time of big brother Tom's request. They said yes and changed their name to Tommy Fogerty and the Blue Velvets.
After three failed singles on Orchestra records, Tommy Fogerty and the Blue Velvets submitted an audition tape of instrumental music to Fantasy Records in an attempt to sell the tunes to Vince Guaraldi, who had a huge hit with "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" and would later write and arrange the music for Charlie Brown specials. Co-founder of the label, Max Weiss, was impressed by their audacity and their energy and signed Tommy Fogerty and the Blue Velvets in March of 1964.
Weiss suggested that the group change their name as he thought that the Blue Velvets were a remnant of the '50s. The Group settled on The Visions, but by the time their first Fantasy single came out, the British Invasion was in full force and new label owner Paul Saenz changed their name to the Golliwogs (after an English doll) and put it on the first of a string of flop singles.
Although they were experiencing futility on the record front, they were making a name for themselves playing at parties, military bases, and clubs up and down the Pacific coast. At times the quality of the PA system was close to nonexistent, which put a strain on Tom Fogerty's lead voice. Eventually John Fogerty took on more and more of the lead, developing a shouting/screaming style that later became his trademark.
After a six-month hiatus (John served six months in the army; Cosmo served in the Coast Guard), Saentz decided that if the group was to become a viable option for Fantasy Records, a few changes had to me made. He had the band ditch the Golliwogs name, involve itself more with the Bay Area music scene and underground radio, and put more attention on John Fogerty.
They changed their name to Creedence Clearwater Revival, reportedly in honor of a friend of a friend of Tom's named Credence Nuball. The new name came from three sources: Creedence: from "credence," a belief in themselves, Clearwater: initially it came from a beer commercial, but it resonated more strongly with the burgeoning environmental movement via an anti-pollution TV commercial, Revival: from the hope to revive the band's career.
Starting in 1968, most of their songs were written, produced, arranged, and sung by John Fogerty. He carried a notebook full of phrases that he wanted to convert into songs, including "Bad Moon Rising," "Born on the Bayou," "Proud Mary" (the first on the list), "Up Around the Bend," and "Riverboat Queen."
Tensions within the group arose in 1970 as the Fogerty brothers clashed and Clifford and Clark, who were resentful that the group appeared to be a one-man show (in fact, virtually every decision involving the group was made by a majority vote of its members). Tom Fogerty left in early 1971, after the release of the group's Pendulum album to revive his solo career (he released three albums on Fantasy before dying in 1990. A fourth, completed in 1988, was released posthumously). CCR continued as a trio.
The end was near in 1972, when the group voted 2-1 to contribute equally to their next (and what proved to be their last) album, Mardi Gras. As a result, Stu Cook's "Door to Door" appeared on the disk alongside the year-old "Sweet Hitchhiker" and their cover of Ricky Nelson's "Hello Mary Lou."
In 1973, Fantasy Records sued the group for breach of contract as Fogerty prepared his second solo LP. The suit was settled when Fogerty and the group sold all rights to the songs and recordings to Fantasy Records and Saul Saentz. Fogerty was so embittered about this that he refused to perform any of his CCR songs until 2000. He later recorded three songs for his Centerfield LP that attracted the ire of Saentz: the Top 10 hit "Old Man Down the Road" triggered a suit by Saentz purporting that Fogerty plagiarized himself (Fogerty prevailed and won attorney's fees); "Mr. Greed" and "Zantz Kant Dance" (later "Vantz Kant Dance") triggered a defamation lawsuit by Zaentz in which the jury sided with Fogerty.
In 1995, over Fogerty's strenuous objections, Cook and Clifford re-formed the band without him and rechristened it Creedence Clearwater Revisited. Fogerty sued his two former bandmates to prevent the use of the name and the preformance of old CCR tunes in the act. When Fogerty got the injunction, Clifford, Cook, and company toured as "Cosmo's Factory," and raised the ire of Fogerty when a promoter billed then as "Cosmo's Factory - Former Creedence Clearwater Revival Members Stu Cook and Doug Clifford - An Evening of CCR." The injunction was overturned on appeal.
When CCR was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1993), Cook and Clifford walked out when they were informed that Fogerty would be performing CCR tunes with the house band and Bruce Springsteen and had no interest in performing with the two of them. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for above 14)
Bruce Springsteen said: "Creedence wasn't the hippest band in the world, but they were the best." Springsteen covered many of CCR's songs, including "Fortunate Son", "Bad Moon Rising", "Proud Mary", "Run Through The Jungle", "Who'll Stop the Rain?", and "Travellin' Band." (thanks, Brett - Edmonton, Canada)
The band (minus Tom Fogerty) reformed at a class reunion in 1983. It is the last time that the three surviving members of CCR played together. (thanks, Jani - Raahe, Finland)
Their name comes from a combination of three things: Tom Fogerty's friend Credence Nuball, Clearwater beer, and the desire to revive the band's fortunes. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)