“Proud Mary” is a song that everybody knows, whether they listen to rock, soul, jazz, even Hip Hop. From the streets of Chicago, to the wheat fields of Kansas, to the Champs Elysées in Paris, France, everyone knows this song. Some grew up on the original CCR hit, while others were raised on the Tina Turner version.
Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” is generally considered to have been released as a 45 rpm single in January of 1969, on the Fantasy label. The B-side of that single was another hit, “Born on the Bayou.” The song’s author, John Fogerty, claimed that he had written the song after leaving the National Guard in 1969. John Selvin later claimed that the song was taken from various parts of several songs when writing the liner notes for an expanded reissue of Bayou Country. According to the RIAA, the single was certified Platinum on December 13, 1990.
Since then, there have been many stellar renditions of this now classic hit. Solomon Burke released his version of “Proud Mary” in 1969, while the CCR version was still running the charts. While many thought Burke was completely crazy for doing this, his delivery turned it into a totally different song. He sang it as a song of Black struggle, of looking for freedom by riding the river.
Ike and Tina Turner recorded their hit version in 1970, and it was released as a single from the Workin’ Together album in 1971. In 1993, Tina Turner released “Proud Mary” as a single from her What’s Love Got to Do with It album.
There are many more artists that have either recorded the song, and/or perform it in front of audiences around the world. So, thank you John Fogerty. You have given us a song (one of many), that continues to make us feel good all these many years later.