Creedence Clearwater Revival

Bad Moon Rising

Composed by John Fogerty

Song Review by

Rockabilly was one of the strands Creedence Clearwater Revival drew upon in its synthesis of roots rock. "Bad Moon Rising" was one of the band's most explicitly rockabilly-rooted songs, sounding in some respects like an updated version of the kind of ambience Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins created in their classic recordings for Sun Records. You wouldn't have found the kind of lyrics contained in "Bad Moon Rising" in many or any '50s rockabilly songs, however, although it was the primeval rockabilly riffing that was probably mostly responsible for shooting it to #2 in 1969. The early rockabilly atmosphere was established immediately with the initial burst of choppy chords, brisk rhythm, John Fogerty's slightly reverbed voice, and overall leanness of production. Fogerty's lyrics were remarkably apocalyptic and foreboding for such an upbeat, infectious tune, warning of all manner of approaching natural disasters, almost in Biblical terms, as when he talks of hearing the voice of impending rage and ruin. Some have seen it as a reflection of the souring and more cynical mood among the counterculture in the late 1960s. But really Fogerty was tapping into a strand of Americana that's often written about natural disasters and bad times in folk music, stretching to before the twentieth century. Fogerty himself has said the imagery was inspired by the movie The Devil and Daniel Webster. The Sun references were amplified by the brief guitar solo, which were very much in the style of early Elvis Presley guitarist Scotty Moore. Fogerty's clipped and echoed vocals have led the song to be frequently cited in polls of misunderstood lyrics over the years, with the line "there's a bad moon on the rise" being mistaken for "there's a bathroom on the right," for instance. Perhaps the most notable cover of "Bad Moon Rising" is the one that Emmylou Harris did in the early 1980s.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Creedence Clearwater Revival 1968 Decca / Fantasy
Green River 1969 Fantasy 2:08
No Image 196? Fantasy
Creedence Gold 1972 Universal 2:19
Live in Europe 1973 Concord / Fantasy 2:19
Chronicle, Vol. 1 1976 Concord / Fantasy / Universal Music 2:20
Hot Stuff 1977 Universal 2:18
No Image 1979 Fantasy
The Concert 1980 Universal Music 2:17
No Image 1982 Fantasy
The Big Chill [Original Soundtrack] 1983
Original Soundtrack
Hip-O 2:21
The Big Chill: More Songs from the Original Soundtrack 1984
Various Artists
Motown 2:19
No Image 1985 Fantasy
Chronicle, Vol. 2 1986 Concord / Universal 2:18
Creedence Clearwater Revival [Time Life] 198? Fantasy 2:20
Bad Moon Rising 1990 Fantasy
My Girl 1991
Original Soundtrack
Epic 2:15
My Girl [EP] 1991
Original Soundtrack
Sony Music Distribution 2:19
The Legends Collection 1993 Eastwest 2:22
My Fellow Americans 1996
Original Soundtrack
TVT 2:20
The Best of Creedence Clearwater Revival [Fantasy Canada] 1998 Fantasy 2:18
Ultimate Collection 1998 Mushroom Records 2:21
No Image 1998 JVC Compact Discs
Collection 1999 Universal 2:08
Keep on Chooglin' [Festival] 1999 Festival Records 2:21
At the Movies 1999 Fantasy 2:20
Creedence Clearwater Revival [Box Set] 2001 Fantasy 2:04
Best of Creedence Clearwater Revival [EMI] 2003 EMI Music Distribution 2:21
Platinum 2004 BMG International 2:21
Really the Best 2005 ZYX Music
Greatest Hits [2005] 2005 Rock 2:20
No Image 2005 ZYX Music 2:25
Inside Creedence Clearwater Revival 2005 Classic Rock Legends
Absolute Originals 2006 APO (Analogue Production Originals) 2:21
80s Movie Hits 2006
Various Artists
Universal 2:22
The Classic Sixties Collection: Late '60s 2006
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:18
Rock Legends 2008 Concord Neu 2:21
Best Of 2008 Concord 2:17
Now That's What I Call Classic Rock 2008
Various Artists
Capitol 2:17
Collected 2008 Universal Distribution 2:20
No Image 2008 Universal 2:20
40th Anniversary Editions Box Set 2009 Universal Distribution / Concord/Universal / Fantasy 2:07
Moondust 2009
Various Artists
Heavenly / Virgin / Virgin/Heavenly 2:15
Woodstock 40 Years On: Back to Yasgur's Farm 2009
Various Artists
Atlantic / Rhino 2:12
The Singles Collection 2009 Concord 2:20
The Royal Albert Hall Concert 1970 2010 Intergroove
Performance 2011 Northworld 2:20
No Image 2011 Fantasy 2:21
Woodstock 1969 2011 IDS / Rock Tapes
Live on Stage/The Lost Tapes 2012 IDS / Rock Tapes
Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival: Greatest Hits & All-Time Classics 2012 Concord 2:06
No Image 2013 Spectrum Music
Greatest Hits 2014 Fantasy 2:20
No Image Fantasy 2:19
No Image Phantom
La Légende de Creedence Fantasy 2:20
Tribute to Creedence Clearwater Revival XXL Media
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