Why Did Creedence Clearwater Revival Break Up

Creedence Clearwater Revival, the iconic American rock band of the late 1960s and early 1970s, held a prominent place in the hearts of many music lovers during their heyday. Their powerful and soulful sound captivated audiences worldwide, making them one of the most successful bands of their era.

However, despite their tremendous success, Creedence Clearwater Revival eventually succumbed to the pressures and conflicts that often arise within a band. The question remains: why did this beloved group break up?

To truly grasp the reasons behind Creedence Clearwater Revival’s breakup, one must delve into the complex dynamics between the band members.

In this article, we will explore the intricacies of the relationship between Tom and John Fogerty, shedding light on the coldness that permeated their interactions. We will also delve into the history of Creedence Clearwater Revival, examining the band’s rise to stardom and the factors that contributed to their success.

Why Did Creedence Clearwater Revival Break Up?

If you want to understand why Creedence Clearwater Revival broke up, you must dive into the turbulent dynamics between the band members and the bitter clashes that tore them apart.

The band had been facing internal conflicts for quite some time, with Tom Fogerty’s departure in 1971 being a significant blow. However, the autocratic leadership style of lead vocalist John Fogerty ultimately pushed bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford to their breaking point.

Cook and Clifford, after years of being relegated to the background, wanted a bigger voice in the band’s decisions and a chance to make a greater impact. They felt that Fogerty was stifling their creativity and pushing them into roles for which they were unprepared. On the other hand, Fogerty believed that Cook and Clifford were trying to undermine him and sink Creedence Clearwater Revival.

The tensions between the band members reached a boiling point during the making of their final album, Mardi Gras. With Cook and Clifford taking turns on lead vocals for six of the ten tracks, there was a clear divide within the band. The songs by Fogerty on the album were reliable but not particularly memorable, while Cook’s contributions contained veiled attacks on Fogerty, making it evident that the animosity between them was affecting their music.

Creedence Clearwater Revival broke up due to the turbulent dynamics and bitter clashes between band members. John Fogerty’s autocratic leadership style and the desire of Stu Cook and Doug Clifford for a bigger role in the band’s decisions created an irreparable divide that ultimately led to their downfall.

The feud between Tom Fogerty and John Fogerty that wasn’t resolved

Despite their shared success and familial bond, the ongoing animosity between Tom and John Fogerty ultimately remained unresolved, leading to Tom’s departure from the band in 1971.

The feud between the two brothers had been simmering for years, fueled by personal animosity and creative differences.

Tom, who was a talented guitarist in his own right, felt overshadowed by John’s dominant presence as the lead vocalist and primary songwriter of Creedence Clearwater Revival. He longed for more vocal and songwriting opportunities within the band, but these desires were often overlooked or dismissed by John.

This lack of recognition and the strained relationship between the two brothers gradually eroded the band dynamics and created a toxic atmosphere that was difficult to overcome.

The impact of the unresolved feud between Tom and John Fogerty on the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival cannot be understated.

Tom’s departure marked the end of an era for the band, as they were forced to continue as a power trio without his unique guitar contributions. The absence of Tom’s distinct sound and musical input was palpable in their final album, Mardi Gras, which received mixed reviews from both critics and fans.

Furthermore, the personal animosity between the brothers hindered their ability to collaborate effectively, stifling their creative process and preventing them from reaching their full potential as a band.

Had the feud been resolved, it’s possible that Creedence Clearwater Revival could’ve continued to produce groundbreaking music and solidify their legacy as one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

However, the unresolved tension ultimately led to the dissolution of the band and the end of an era in rock music history.

Tom Fogerty and John Fogerty’s cold relationship

What was once a harmonious relationship between brothers turned into a battleground of unresolved resentment and bitter rivalry between the two brothers.

The root of their cold relationship can be traced back to their differing creative visions and the dynamics within Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Sibling rivalry played a significant role in the breakdown of their relationship. John Fogerty, the younger brother, possessed a remarkable talent that overshadowed Tom’s contributions to the band. This stark contrast in talent fueled deep-seated jealousy within Tom, which only intensified as Creedence Clearwater Revival gained immense success. The constant comparison and feeling of being in his brother’s shadow drove a wedge between them, breeding an atmosphere of animosity and resentment.

Furthermore, creative differences exacerbated the tensions between the two brothers. John’s songwriting prowess and distinct musical style often clashed with Tom’s preferences, resulting in conflicts over the band’s direction. These disagreements further strained their already fragile relationship, as both brothers were fiercely determined to have their voices heard and their creative visions realized.

The inability to find common ground and compromise on crucial artistic decisions fueled the fire of their cold relationship.

Ultimately, the demise of Creedence Clearwater Revival reflected the irreparable damage inflicted upon the brotherly bond of Tom and John Fogerty.

Their cold relationship, marked by unresolved resentment and bitter rivalry, served as a tragic backdrop to the band’s disintegration. The once inseparable brothers were torn apart by a combination of sibling rivalry, creative differences, and the relentless pressures of fame. It serves as a poignant reminder that even the closest of bonds can be shattered when personal ambitions and conflicting visions collide.

Creedence Clearwater Revival History

Portola Junior High in El Cerrito, California, was where the members of Creedence Clearwater Revival first formed their close bond, leading to their eventual rise in the music industry. John Fogerty, Doug Clifford, Stu Cook, and John’s older brother Tom came together as friends and musicians during their time at this school.

It was here that they discovered their shared love for music and began to develop the unique sound that would later propel them to fame. Creedence Clearwater Revival’s rise to fame can be attributed to their distinct blend of rock and roll, country, blues, and R&B influences. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Little Richard, Elvis Presley, and the Rolling Stones, the band created a sound resonating with worldwide audiences.

Their music was characterized by catchy melodies, powerful vocals, and thoughtful lyrics that captured the spirit of the times. Creedence Clearwater Revival quickly became one of the most successful bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s with a string of popular hits. Songs like ‘Proud Mary,’ ‘Bad Moon Rising,’ and ‘Fortunate Son’ became anthems for a generation, reflecting the social and political climate of the era.

Their album discography is equally impressive, with iconic releases such as ‘Bayou Country,’ ‘Green River,’ and ‘Cosmo’s Factory’ solidifying their place in music history. Even though the band disbanded in 1972 due to internal conflicts, their legacy and influence continue to be felt in the music industry.

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s music has stood the test of time, remaining popular and relevant today. Their unique sound and powerful songwriting continue to inspire countless artists, ensuring that their impact will be felt for generations to come.


You might be surprised to learn that even after their breakup, the impact of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s music can still be seen today, with over 168 million streams of their songs on Spotify alone.

The band’s post-breakup dynamics were strained, with lingering tensions between the members and legal battles over song rights.

However, each member pursued their own projects, making significant contributions to the music industry.

After the breakup, lead singer and primary songwriter John Fogerty embarked on a successful solo career. He released several albums, including the critically acclaimed ‘Centerfield,’ which produced his biggest hit as a solo artist.

Despite vocal troubles and a refusal to perform CCR songs due to legal complications, Fogerty continued to captivate audiences with his distinctive voice and songwriting prowess.

His impact on the music industry cannot be overstated, and his solo work is a testament to his enduring talent.

Other members of the band also made their mark in the post-breakup era. Drummer Doug Clifford and bassist Stu Cook formed the band Creedence Clearwater Revisited, which focused on performing CCR’s classic hits.

While not as commercially successful as their previous incarnation, the band provided fans with an opportunity to relive the magic of CCR’s music in a live setting. Their performances were met with enthusiasm from die-hard fans who longed to experience the band’s timeless sound once again.

Despite the breakup of Creedence Clearwater Revival, the band’s impact on the music industry and their dedicated fan base has endured.

So, it’s clear that each member went on to pursue their own projects, leaving their mark on the industry in different ways.

From John Fogerty’s successful solo career to the nostalgic performances of Creedence Clearwater Revisited, the legacy of CCR lives on, captivating audiences and reminding them of the band’s undeniable influence on rock and roll.

Why Creedence Clearwater Revival Remains the Definitive Band of Its Era

Despite their breakup, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s status as the definitive band of its era remains unshakable. Their genre-blending sound and timeless hits continue to resonate with audiences today. Their musical influence can’t be overstated. They seamlessly combined elements of rock and roll, soul, rhythm and blues, and country to create a sound that was distinctly their own.

Songs like ‘Proud Mary,”Fortunate Son,’ and ‘Bad Moon Rising’ have stood the test of time. They remain beloved classics that are still played on the radio and covered by countless artists. The band’s ability to craft catchy melodies and thought-provoking lyrics contributed to their enduring appeal. They captured the spirit of the turbulent 1960s and early 1970s.

Beyond their musical prowess, Creedence Clearwater Revival also had a significant cultural impact. Their songs often addressed socially relevant issues, such as the Vietnam War and social injustice. This resonated with a generation that was hungry for change. Their music became anthems for both the soldiers fighting overseas and the anti-war protesters at home. This ability to connect with their audience on a deeper level solidified their place in history as a band that made great music and reflected the social and political climate of their time.

The band’s unique sound, characterized by John Fogerty’s distinctive vocals and guitar playing, set them apart from their contemporaries. Their music had a raw energy and authenticity that spoke to listeners. This earned them a loyal fan base that remains dedicated to this day.

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s legacy and recognition are well-deserved. They continue to be celebrated as one of the greatest bands of all time. Their impact on popular music can’t be overstated, and their influence can still be heard in the work of countless artists across genres.

From their infectious melodies to their thought-provoking lyrics, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s music continues to captivate and inspire audiences. This solidifies their place as the definitive band of their era.

Where Did The Rest Of Creedence Go

Luckily, there’s still plenty to discover about what happened to the other members of Creedence Clearwater Revival after they went their separate ways. Bassist Stu Cook, drummer Doug Clifford, and rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty all pursued solo careers following the band’s breakup.

While they may not have achieved the same level of success as John Fogerty, their contributions to the music industry cannot be overlooked. Stu Cook and Doug Clifford formed the band Creedence Clearwater Revisited in 1995, which focused on performing Creedence Clearwater Revival’s classic hits. They toured extensively and gained a dedicated fanbase who appreciated their authentic renditions of the band’s beloved songs.

Cook and Clifford’s musical influences were rooted in rock and roll, blues, and country, which they also brought to their solo projects. Their impact on the rock genre is undeniable, as their tight rhythm section and solid musicianship laid the foundation for Creedence Clearwater Revival’s sound. Their legacy in the music industry is marked by their ability to create timeless music that continues to resonate with fans, both old and new.

Despite not achieving the same level of commercial success as their former bandmate, Cook and Clifford received immense support from fans who appreciated their talent and contributions to the music industry. While they may not have had the same spotlight as John Fogerty, their dedication to their craft and their commitment to keeping the spirit of Creedence Clearwater Revival alive have earned them a special place in the hearts of rock music enthusiasts.

Their solo careers may not have reached the same heights, but their passion for music and their impact on the genre should not be underestimated.


In conclusion, the breakup of Creedence Clearwater Revival resulted from the deep-seated feud between brothers Tom and John Fogerty that remained unresolved until the end. Despite their immense talent and success, the strained relationship between the two band members ultimately proved to be their downfall. With a cold and distant bond, the brothers struggled to communicate and collaborate effectively, leading to a breakdown in the band’s unity.

It’s fascinating to note that even though Creedence Clearwater Revival disbanded over four decades ago, their music resonates with audiences today. Their timeless hits have stood the test of time, remaining as powerful and iconic as ever. In fact, according to recent data, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s greatest hits album has re-entered the charts multiple times in the past decade, proving that their music still holds a special place in the hearts of music lovers around the world.

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s breakup may have been a sad end to a remarkable chapter in music history, but their impact and legacy live on. Their songs continue to evoke strong emotions, their lyrics remain relevant, and their sound remains unmistakable. While the band members may have gone their separate ways, their music remains a testament to their talent and the enduring power of rock ‘n’ roll.

John Godfrey

John Godfrey is a music fanatic, as well as the owner of Songpier.com which provides music guides. In high school, he learned how to play the drums which inspired him to learn about rock music. He began to write articles for various music magazines and during this period he realized he had a passion for writing music descriptions. He has a Master's degree in music education from the University of Redlands.