What caused Creedence Clearwater Revival to break up?

By 1972, it was almost impossible to find another group as dysfunctional and internally torn as Creedence Clearwater Revival. Creedence were once at the forefront of popular music, but have since fallen apart irreparably.

Guitarist Tom Fogerty had left the band the previous year, and the band’s rhythm section, consisting of bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford, had grown tired of vocalist John Fogerty’s authoritarian influence over the band. Things got worse and worse until they got out of hand.

The events that followed are open to interpretation, and the result was a disaster in every sense of the word, but what followed was a mystery. If you ask John Fogerty, Cook and Clifford asked to be allowed to write and sing equally on the band’s next album.

Why did CCR disband?
Why did CCR disband?

This was something Cooke and Clifford had never done or wanted on any of the band’s previous LPs. According to Cook and Clifford, all they wanted was a bigger say in the overall decisions of the band, and they just wanted the opportunity to contribute more before Fogerty forced them into roles they weren’t prepared for.

It was all part of an apparent attempt by Fogerty to sink the Creedence Clearwater Revival band, which is known to be a good ship. Both sides seem to be telling at least part of the truth. However, regardless of what happened, the public got to witness Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras consists of ten songs, four of which are performed by Fogerty, and the remaining six songs are performed equally by Cook and Clifford. The songs written by Fogerty are good, even if not particularly memorable.

“Someday Never Comes” is a lovely late-period CCR song, and “Sweet Hitch Hiker” is fun and boisterous in its signature style. On the other hand, the uninspired cover of the Everly Brothers’ “Hello Mary Lou” and the harrowing album opener “Looking For a Reason” are sickening additions to the band’s catalog.

Why did CCR disband?
Why did CCR disband?

By this point, it was obvious that Fogerty had hit rock bottom, and most of his playing on the album reflected that. The inclusion of material provided by other members is even more confusing. While Clifford imitates a drawl that could almost make your head explode, Cook has a voice so powerful it could scrape paint off a wall.

It would be an insult to slogans to call these songs slogans. Each of them lurches forward with a strange side-shift that occasionally speeds up and occasionally slows down, but never accomplishes anything.

I have no doubt that Cook and Clifford believed in the content they created, but I find it hard to believe they were so self-deluded as to think they had created something worthy of the Creedence moniker after hearing these results.

Mardi Gras doesn’t offer much entertainment, but there is one aspect of the celebration that is intriguing: the fact that band members openly talk trash about each other in song lyrics. Or, to put it another way, Cook openly insults John Fogerty in several of his songs.

Both ‘Take It Like a Friend’ and ‘Sail Away’ are thinly veiled jabs at John Fogerty and seem like the most petty and bitter writings that could come from someone whose side you can’t take because the songs are so poor.

If Cooke had interesting tunes to carry these criticisms, it could be excused. However, the fact that he is nearly busting his lungs out trying to get his words out is not a good sign and is indicative of a potential problem.

Why did CCR disband?
Why did CCR disband?

Mardi Gras is perhaps the worst performed, weirdest arranged and most willfully self-destructive record a professional rock band has ever released. It’s enough to make you think Cook and Clifford were telling the truth when they said the entire script was forced on them so Fogerty could find a way out of the group.

That’s enough to make you think Cook and Clifford were telling the truth. Fogerty, of course, found a way out of the situation, but not before a lawsuit from his former label head ended his nearly ten-year solo career. Cook and Clifford then went on to form Creedence Clearwater Revisited, a band that still exists today and is happy to play mediocre casinos.

Despite the passing of half a century and the passing of Tom Fogerty in 1990, the remaining members of the group continue to harbor a deep-seated animosity towards each other that has not diminished in the least in any way.

Why did CCR disband?
Why did CCR disband?

Mardi Gras will celebrate its 50th anniversary next April, but the band has no plans to release deluxe reissues to mark the occasion. Mardi Gras was a last-ditch effort to preserve a group that had already passed the point of no return in terms of its potential for survival.

The results are a shame Creedence Clearwater Revival alias, and everyone involved in their production should be ashamed of themselves, no matter how talented they are as singers or songwriters.

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