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Rock Rewind: “Proud Mary”

For the last Rock Rewind of 2013, I’ve picked a bit of an anomaly. “Proud Mary” is one of those few songs that became a signature hit for more than one act, so it doesn’t do the song justice unless you tell both stories.

John Fogerty wrote the song in the late 1960s, and his band Credence Clearwater Revival released the tune in 1969 on their sophomore album Bayou Country. “Proud Mary” became their first Top-10 hit, going all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and eventually becoming their first Platinum single. The momentum carried them through several more Top-10s over the next several years.

Then Ike and Tina Turner picked up the song, and the whole dynamic changed.

CCR had played the hit with a steady-as-she-goes mid-tempo country-rock beat. Ike and Tina chose to divide it up, starting with a slower R&B-tinged groove, then launching it into manic funk-rock on overdrive. The combination worked; “Proud Mary” hit the Top-10 for the second time in two years, and the couple took home a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group. The song continued to be a signature hit for Tina well into her solo career.

For homage to the song, I’ve included three versions, all live performances (since “Proud Mary” hails before the music video era). The first is a Credence Clearwater Revival performance; the second is a classic live performance by Ike and Tina, and the third is a live performance by Tina during her resurging solo career in the early 1980s, which I included just because she was such an amazing performer on her own.  Enjoy!

About the Author


Tim Ferrar's interest in pop and rock started as a child, listening to Top-40 radio for hours on end while playing air guitar in his bedroom. Eventually air guitar led to electric guitar, and Tim began playing in bands and writing his own songs. With an admitted weakness for "a great hook or a great guitar riff," Tim's musical tastes are broad and varied, ranging from Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga on the pop side to Bon Jovi and Foo Fighters on the rock side- making him the ideal guy to cover our Rock and Pop categories. By day, Tim is a mild-mannered accountant in Chicago. By night, he rocks out on electric guitar in a cover band in various clubs around town- much to the surprise of some of his clients.

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