Creedence Clearwater Revival

Bad Moon Rising

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
Green River 1969 Fantasy 2:21
No Image 196? Fantasy
Creedence Gold 1972 Fantasy 2:17
Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits 1976 Fantasy 2:18
Hot Stuff 1977 Fantasy 2:19
No Image 1982 Fantasy
The Big Chill [Original Soundtrack] 1983
Original Soundtrack
Motown 0:00
The Big Chill: More Songs from the Original Soundtrack 1984
Various Artists
Motown 2:19
No Image 1985 Fantasy
Creedence Clearwater Revival [Time Life] 198? Fantasy 2:20
My Girl 1991
Original Soundtrack
Epic 2:15
My Fellow Americans 1996
Original Soundtrack
TVT / Tvt Soundtrax 2:20
The Best of Creedence Clearwater Revival [Fantasy Canada] 1998 Fantasy 2:18
Ultimate Collection 1998 Mushroom Records 2:21
Collection 1999 Fantasy 2:21
Keep on Chooglin' [Festival] 1999 Festival Records 2:21
At the Movies 1999 Fantasy 2:20
Creedence Clearwater Revival [Box Set] 2001 Fantasy 2:23
Best of Creedence Clearwater Revival [EMI] 2003 EMI Music Distribution 2:21
Platinum 2004 BMG International 2:21
Greatest Hits [2005] 2005 Rock 2:20
The Long Road Home: The Ultimate John Fogerty/Creedence Collection 2005 Fantasy 2:20
Absolute Originals 2006 APO (Analogue Production Originals) 2:21
80s Movie Hits 2006
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 0:00
Forever Creedence Clearwater Revival 2007 Madacy 2:21
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:18
Rock Legends 2008 Concord Neu 2:21
Best Of 2008 Universal International 2:21
Now That's What I Call Classic Rock 2008
Various Artists
Capitol 2:17
Collected 2008 Universal Distribution 2:20
40th Anniversary Editions Box Set 2009 Universal Distribution / Concord / Universal / Fantasy 2:21
Moondust 2009
Various Artists
Heavenly / Virgin 2:15
The Singles Collection 2009 Concord / Fantasy 2:20
Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival: Greatest Hits & All-Time Classics 2012 Concord / Fantasy 2:20
Greatest Hits 2014 Fantasy 2:20
The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick - The Soundtrack 2017
Various Artists
Universal 2:20
Halloween Music
Various Artists
Universal 2:20
No Image Phantom
Woodstock 50 - Back To The Garden: The Anniversary Experience Day 2
Various Artists
Atlantic / Rhino 2:14