As John Fogerty worked on Green River, the second of three studio albums his band Creedence Clearwater Revival would release in 1969, the rock singer felt a twinge of doubt. CCR’s first two records were hits on college radio, and a single, “Proud Mary,” had peaked at No. 2 on the charts. But as the band’s bassist Stu Cook would later recall in an interview with Goldmine magazine, Fogerty had an “almost morbid fear of being off the charts.”
So, as Fogerty prepped the new album, he took a moment to reflect. Just about a year ago, I set out on the road... A thought popped into his head. “I sat down and wrote about being on the road, being a musician—not the happy, glamorous part,” he explained to a CCR fansite in the 2000s. “Rather, I projected myself ahead maybe 10 years, as a country musician singing that minor hit I had 10 years ago.”
The song was titled “Lodi” after a town in California, the type of place where you get stuck on a journey to somewhere better, and it would stand as a counterpoint to later songs like “Travelin’ Band” with its cross-country whirlwind of jet planes and big shows. Fogerty couldn’t shake the feeling that a bad moon might be rising over CCR. What he couldn’t have known was that he was right. “Lodi” had escaped from his subconscious as a kind of psychic premonition.
Things got bad and things got worse, I guess you will know the tune...