Keith Richards’ scathing view on Creedence Clearwater Revival

Rumour has it that Keith Richards once drunkenly called a glimpse of himself in a mirror and hurled an insult at it before realising it was him. The Rolling Stones rocker has never really gone in for the whole ‘hero’ thing. Instead, he has taken on the role of the rock ‘n’ roll iconoclast, swaggering around with little reverence for anyone but himself and maybe Aretha Franklin, the only artist he has praised without stacking the other scale with an insult.

However, his view on Creedence Clearwater Revival seems oddly fitting. After enjoying a solitary year of peak success, the band broke up over half a century ago. Even Richards enjoyed them then. However, since then, their popularity has continued to be in a state of constant revival as the band upholds a spiritual sense of the 1960s and all that entails. Richards isn’t into that all that much.

From the tempestuous end that led to a long-running feud to the visceral vitality of their music, they are an emblem of the American zeitgeist in the 1960s, and that remains a thrilling force to behold. “Creedence Clearwater Revival … were progressive and anachronistic at the same time. An unapologetic throwback to the golden era of rock ‘n’ roll,“ Bruce Springsteen said when he inducted them into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame.

Continuing: “They broke ranks with their peers on the progressive, psychedelic San Francisco scene. Their approach was basic and uncompromising, holding true to the band members’ working-class origins. I stand here tonight, still envious of that music’s power and its simplicity.”

However, Richards felt that they were a little too simple. While he was being interviewed in an office in 1969, ol’ Creedence were playing on the stereo system. When asked for his thoughts, he initially said, “Yeah, I’m into a very weird thing with that band.“ But his feedback got steadily harsher from thereon.

He added, “When I first heard them, I was really knocked out, but I became bored with them very quickly. After a few times, it started to annoy me. They’re so basic and simple that maybe it’s a little too much.” In some ways, this also played into the unfortunate ‘Boy Scouts of Rock’ tagline that had begun to beset the band at the time.

After all, in the very same Rolling Stone interview, Richards laid down the incendiary tenets of his own band, stating: “It’s always been the Stones’ thing to get up on stage and kick the crap out of everything. We had three years of that before we made it, and we were only just getting it together when we became famous. We still had plenty to do on stage, and I think we still have. That’s why the tour should be such a groove for us.”

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