Singled Out Classic: Creedence Clearwater Revival's Proud Mary
That's my first good song. It is true, chronologically. I was living in a little apartment, this is back in the middle of 1968, and I had been in the Army Reserve and I had been trying to get discharged. I was trying to get out as this was at the height of Vietnam. I could have been in for almost another three years.
I was trying to do my music thing and wasn't sure what was going to happen. I was home and I noticed this envelope on the stairs of my apartment house that said, "Official Government Business." I looked at it and it had my name on it. I opened it up and it was my Honorary Discharge from the US Army. I had a little touch of grass right in front of the apartment, right where I was, and I literally turned a cartwheel. I went, "AHHHH-men." I went right into the house and wrote "Proud Mary."
You know when you play a video game and you get better and better and you go to the next level? It was like that writing that song—I went up about twenty levels. I'd written songs; I'd been writing songs since I was seven or eight years old, but they were just "la, la la" or whatever. "Proud Mary" was so far above that. I knew it was a classic. It was like Irving Berlin or Hoagy Carmichael. I was literally shaking. "Rolling, rolling on the river" I was like, "Where did that come from?" It was just so good, it was way beyond me. It is really what happened.
John covers a lot of different topics in the interview, you can read the full chat right here!