March 28

A Song of An Apocalypse: “Bad Moon Rising” by CCR

A Song of An Apocalypse: "Bad Moon Rising" by CCR 1

Creedence Clearwater Revival/

Penned by John Fogerty, “Bad Moon Rising” is a song performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Released in April 1969, it was the lead single from their album Green River. The song reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. In addition, it peaked at no. 1 on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks on September 19. To note, it was CCR’s second gold single.

The song has been recorded by at least 20 different artists. Also in styles ranging from folk to reggae to psychedelic rock and to country rock.

In 2010, Rolling Stone ranked it #364 on its “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list.

The inspiration of the song

Fogerty reportedly wrote “Bad Moon Rising” after watching The Devil and Daniel Webster. Inspired by a scene in the film involving a hurricane, Fogerty claims the song is about “the apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us.

This is where he got the idea for the words “I feel the hurricane blowin’, I hope you’re quite prepared to die.”

The music makes this sound like a happy song, but the lyrics are very bleak, describing events that indicate a coming apocalypse.

Song Reception

This was used in two science-fiction movies of the 1980s: An American Werewolf In London (1981) and Twilight Zone: The Movie (1982). In the former, it plays as the main character is awaiting a full moon and wondering if he will turn into a werewolf.

This contains a classic misheard lyric. The line “There’s a bad moon on the rise” is often heard as “There’s a bathroom on the right.” Not only do many people sing the wrong lyrics, but John Fogerty himself sang the “bathroom on the right” lyric once during the “Premonition” concert. It can be heard after the last verse of the song quite plainly. Fogerty would often have fun with this trope. Sometimes, pointing to a nearby bathroom from the stage when he got to the famous misheard line.

Fogerty’s Thoughts

During his VH1’s Storytellers performance, Fogerty said that he was quite aware of the contradiction between the song’s lyrical content and its bouncy sound (though he offers no explanation for this).
He then recounted how, during many performances, the audience would sing back at him
“There’s a bathroom on the right” during the final lyric, which actually says “There’s a bad moon on the rise.”
Fogerty has also used the “bathroom” line during some live performances. In his memoir, Fogerty said he borrowed the guitar lick for this song from Scotty Moore‘s work on Elvis Presley’s “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone.” Fogerty stresses that he wasn’t trying to hide that he’d borrowed the lick and was instead openly “honoring it.” In 1986, at an unspecified awards get-together, Moore grabbed Fogerty from behind and said, “Give me back my licks!”
Watch the CCR perform Bad Moon Rising.

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Bad Moon Rising, CCR, Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty

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