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“Proud Mary” is a rock song written by John Fogerty and first recorded by his band Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song was released by Fantasy Records as a single from the band’s second studio album, Bayou Country, which was released by the same record company in January 1969. The single is generally considered to have been released in early January 1969, although at least one source states that it came out just before Christmas 1968. The song became a major hit in the United States, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1969, the first of five non-consecutive singles to peak at #2 for the group.
In a 1969 interview, Fogerty said that he wrote it in the two days after he was discharged from the National Guard. In the liner notes for the 2008 expanded reissue of Bayou Country, Joel Selvin explained that the songs for the album started when John Fogerty was in the National Guard, that the riffs for “Proud Mary”, “Born on the Bayou”, and “Keep on Chooglin'” were conceived by Fogerty at a concert in the Avalon Ballroom, and “Proud Mary” was arranged from parts of different songs, one of which was about a washerwoman named Mary. The line “Left a good job in the city” was written following Fogerty’s discharge from the National Guard, and the line “rollin’ on the river” was from a movie by Will Rogers.
In the Macintosh program “Garage Band”, Fogerty explained that he liked Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and wanted to open a song with a similar intro, implying the way “Proud Mary” opens with the repeated C chord to A chord. The basic track for “Proud Mary”, as with the other songs on the album, was recorded by John Fogerty (lead guitar), Tom Fogerty (rhythm guitar), Stu Cook (bass), and Doug Clifford (drums) at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California, with John overdubbing instruments and all the vocals later.