Lookin' Out My Back Door

Album: Cosmo's Factory (1970)
Charted: 2
  • This song was partly written for John Fogerty's son Josh, who at the time was three years old. Fogerty said: "I knew he would love it if he heard me on the radio singing - doot doot doo, lookin' out my back door." In the song lyrics there is a reference to a parade passing by which John says was inspired by a Dr. Seuss book that he read as a kid titled To Think (That) I Saw It On Mulberry Street. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Antonio - Orlando, FL
  • Much like The Beatles "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," many people thought this was about drugs when it was really an innocent song inspired by a child. According to the drug theory, the "Flying Spoon" was a cocaine spoon, and the crazy animal images were an acid trip. This was even less plausible than the Beatles misinterpretation, since Creedence Clearwater Revival was never into psychedelic drugs.
  • This is played in the film The Big Lebowski. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • The album cover shows Creedence Clearwater Revival's rehearsal space, which is not their original digs: they started rehearsing in a shed in the backyard of their drummer Doug Clifford's house. Clifford once said it was "better than working in a factory," so their rehearsal rooms became known as "The Factory." Clifford's nickname was Cosmo, so this space was known as "Cosmo's Factory."
  • John Fogerty played a bit of dobro on this track. He's seen holding the instrument on the cover of the 1969 album Green River, but "Lookin' Out My Back Door" is the only time he played it on a Creedence song. In 1993, he bought a dobro at a vintage guitar show and set out to master the instrument, playing it for hours on end and using it on his 1997 solo album Blue Moon Swamp. He got some help along the way from Jerry Douglas, a preeminent dobro player who was part of Alison Krauss' band Union Station.
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Comments: 20

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 6, 1970, the 'Concert For Peace' took place at Shea Stadium in New York City, the concert marked the 25th anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bomb...
    One of the acts* that performed were Creedence Clearwater Revival, at the time the quartet's "Lookin' Out My Back Door" b/w "Long As I Can See The Light" was in it's first week on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, eight weeks later it would peak at #2* {for 1 week} and it spent 13 weeks on the Top 100...
    Between 1970 and 1976 the group had twenty records on the Top 100 chart; nine made the Top 10 with five reaching #2, and they never had a #1 record...
    Beside the above, their four other #2 records were "Proud Mary" for 3 weeks in 1969, "Bad Moon Rising" for 1 week in 1969, "Green River" for 1 week in 1969, and "Travelin' Band" for 2 weeks in 1970...
    Sadly, rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty passed away at the young age of 48 on September 6th, 1990...
    * The week that "Lookin' Out My Back Door" b/w "Long As I Can See The Light" was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Diana Ross.
  • Eithne from IowaI think John Fogerty really was singing "Today I'll buy no sorrows." It's a common saying in the midwestern US but my California husband's older relatives also say it. What it means here in the midwest is that a lot of the troubles a person may be brooding over are self inflicted, so whenever you make a decision consider whether you really want to buy the sorrow that might come with that decision. It's also a reminder that many times, you can choose to focus on what you don't have (buy some sorrow) or you can look at all the riches you already have. (see also Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors".
  • Jay from Centereach, Long Island, NyI think the lyrics should read "Today I'll bide no sorrows." It certainly sounds like Fogerty is saying "buy", but that doesn't really make sense. You cannot buy sorrow, even in a figurative way. "Bide", which can mean "endure", makes much more sense. He is looking out his back door at all the wonders of nature and imagining things about the animals in his yard. (By the way, one can use his imagination without using drugs.) He is happy and doesn't want it to stop, so he will endure no sorrow today.
  • Peter from Los Angeles, CaIt's really hard to believe that this song is not about drugs. The lyrics "Wondrous apparition, provided by magician," kind of gives it away. Another word for magician is sorcerer. In ancient times sorcerers were people who provided pharmaceuticals (drugs). Of course he said it was for his child, congress was trying to censor songs that had drug references back then.
  • Matt from Sf, CaOK guys, look. While Creedence were never into psychedelic drugs, they smoked weed. OK, I can't back that up with any hard facts, but as a rule of thumb, if they were rock musicians in the 60's (ESPECIALLY if they played at Woodstock), and never publicly spoke out against drugs (like Frank Zappa did), then they probably toked, at least a little.

    And to everyone saying what a great guy John Fogerty is, he was kind of a jerk to the rest of the band towards the end, and he never reconciled with his brother even after he contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion

    But I'll admit, he's still relatively respectable compared to many other rock stars of the era.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyAlways love CCR. I guess they are the "Bridesmaids" of the Top 100; with 'Lookin' Out My Back Door' being the last of five of their records that peaked at #2 and never having a song reach No. 1. But that doesn't matter, they were one of the greatest bands of all time!!!
  • Kaitlyn from Boston, MaI thought that the "Flying Spoon" was referring to the Little or Big Dipper constellations. I may be way off, since it doesn't really relate to the rest of the lyrics.

  • Ellie from Wheeling, WvListening to this song in the late 60's, my friends and I always thought John Fogerty was making reference to the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, IL and the antiwar demonstration and the infamous "Chicago Seven." "Just got home from Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy, got to sit down, take a rest on the porch..." Just letting his mind relax and forget all the commotion.
  • Judy from Horsham, RiWhen ever I get sad I think of this song and imagine, just sitting there and watching this wonderful parade of creaturs dancing on the lawn. It's wonderful to be able to use your imagination!No drugs, how wonderful!! Judy Horsham,PA
  • Lalah from Wasilla, AkI never connected this song with the Dr. Seus book "Mulberry Street" but I can hear and see it now. I was a kid when I first heard it so it will always be about playing in the back yard and woods. I guess people will always put a bit of themselves in what they hear. I bet deviants think it's about sex and addicts are sure it's about drugs when Perry Como sings "Catch A Falling Star And Put It In Your Pocket". I'm glad that most comments here agree it's a song for a child and not a trip.
  • Manyana from Villagehalfforlorn, EuropeMy favourite line is: "Bother me tomorrow, today, I'll buy no sorrows!" Makes for a great T-shirt inscription and it reminds me of a song by John Prine named "It's A Big Old Goofy World":

    ...Kiss a little baby
    Give the world a smile
    If you take an inch
    Give 'em back a mile
    Cause if you lie like a rug
    And you don't give a damn
    You're never gonna be
    As happy as a clam...
  • Patrick from Bremen, GaWhen you listen to the lyrics, you can't help but think about the Dr. Seuss book "And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street."
  • Ccr from Fondy, WiMan i agree, John seems like the kinda guy that would respect and honor the integrity of good clean lyrics creedence clearwater revival is a great band
  • Steven from West Carrollton, OhYeah- John doesn't look like the kinda guy to do any drugs. He's good-hearted and honest- VERY few rock stars are like that.
  • Jonathan from Johnstown, PaListen to the beginning, people: "...Imagination sets in...". He's doning this in his mind, without drugs!
  • Ashley from Moncton, CanadaSounds like what goes on in my dreams- completely and utterly random yet connected somehow. This song makes me happy but sad at the same time. It reminds me of some of the better times with my father.
  • Jason from New York, NyRemember the delirious moment in "The Big Lebowski" when The Dude wrecks his car while listening to this song on the car radio and toking happily away? Even if this song isn't about drugs... it's about drugs.
  • Shana from Detroit Rock City, CanadaSweet song, C.C.R is mint
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnThis was probably the only rock and roll hit that has a reference to Buck Owens. The song even has a country-like tempo.
  • Jolene from Melbourne, AustraliaJohn explained at his concert in Melbourne two days ago that the lyrics were inspired by a children's book he had read, where a kid is sitting on a porch and watching a parade of amazing things, again no drug influence what so ever!
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