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The Heart of Rock and Soul

Dave Marsh, 1989

26 WHO'LL STOP THE RAIN, Creedence Clearwater Revival
Written and produced by John Fogerty
Fantasy 637 - 1970
Billboard: #2

creedenceclearwaterrevival.jpg

The clues in other Creedence songs lead to a different conclusion: Fogerty is rock and roll's version of an Old Testament prophet, preaching pessimism rather than damnation. "Long as I remember," he begins, with an intonation that implies he forgets nothing, clear back to the beginning. Alternately furious and heartsick, he spins a tale that includes political events, rock concerts seen from both sides of the stage, and private attempts to make sense of his life and the world.
With his band, particularly drummer Doug Clifford, working at peak efficiency, Fogerty magisterially draws upon a broad knowledge of American music: The lyrics, the beat, the guitar line, the melody allude to folk songs, country tunes, old R&B hits, Stones-style rock and roll. Yet what draws you back is the grain of his voice, the things it contains and expresses but cannot speak. And this voice is as far from the assurance of Elvis or Aretha as you can get. Fogerty seems confident of only two things: his doubts and his powerlessness. Hooking his audience as firmly as he's hooked himself, Fogerty makes his worries ours. The final chords ring out anthemically without resolving anything at all.
The idea that rock and roll is lighthearted good time music stops here, at the gateway to its heart of darkness.

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Who'll stop the rain - the lyrics
Long as I remember The rain been comin' down.
Clouds of myst'ry pourin' Confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages, Tryin' to find the sun;
And I wonder, Still I wonder, Who'll stop the rain.

I went down Virginia, Seekin' shelter from the storm.
Caught up in the fable, I watched the tower grow.
Five year plans and new deals, Wrapped in golden chains.
And I wonder, Still I wonder Who'll stop the rain.

Heard the singers playin', How we cheered for more.
The crowd had rushed together, Tryin' to keep warm.
Still the rain kept pourin', Fallin' on my ears.
And I wonder, Still I wonder Who'll stop the rain.
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From "The Heart of Rock and Soul, The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made", by Dave Marsh, 1989.
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