The Real Meaning of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Bad Moon Rising
via Creedence Clearwater Revival / Youtube
Creedence Clearwater Revival’s hit song “Bad Moon Rising” has stood the test of time as a beloved rock anthem. While its catchy melody and infectious sound have captivated audiences for decades, the true meaning behind the lyrics often goes unnoticed. We will explore the deeper significance of “Bad Moon Rising” and the inspiration behind its creation.
Unveiling the Meaning
“Bad Moon Rising” holds a significant place in the discography of Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song, written and produced by frontman John Fogerty, carries a profound message that stems from a unique source of inspiration. Fogerty drew from the story of The Devil and Daniel Webster, a film adaptation of a short story from 1936. The movie revolves around a farmer named Jabez Stone who makes a pact with the devil, ultimately selling his soul to save his land and crops. Chaos ensues, with the devil seeking to claim Stone’s son’s soul in return.
Drawing from the Film
Fogerty found himself captivated by a particular scene in the film, which served as the basis for the song’s imagery. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Fogerty reminisced about the impact of the scene:
“At one point in the movie, there was a huge hurricane. Everybody’s crops and houses are destroyed. Boom. Right next door is the guy’s field who made the deal with the devil, and his corn is still straight up six feet. That image was in my mind. I went, ‘Holy mackerel!'”
While “Bad Moon Rising” draws inspiration from The Devil and Daniel Webster, the lyrics take on a broader meaning. Fogerty reveals that the song’s true essence lies in the apocalyptic predictions prevalent during the 1960s and ’70s. The lines:
“I hear hurricanes a-blowin’ / I know the end is comin’ soon / I fear rivers overflowin’ / I hear the voice of rage and ruin” reflect the foreboding atmosphere of the time. Fogerty explains, “It was about the apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us.”
Despite the ominous nature of the lyrics, “Bad Moon Rising” retains a paradoxical quality. Fogerty acknowledges the dichotomy between the dark themes and the upbeat sound of the song. He states:
“Here you got this song with all these hurricanes and blowing and raging ruin and all that, but it’s, I see a bad moon rising. It’s a happy-sounding tune, right? It didn’t bother me at the time.”
Despite its ominous themes, “Bad Moon Rising” became a massive success for Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and claimed the top spot on the UK Singles chart, solidifying its status as one of the band’s iconic hits. Over the years, numerous artists, including Bruce Springsteen, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Emmylou Harris, have covered the song, showcasing its enduring popularity and influence.