Growing up as a kid in the sixties — with so much great music being produced in the golden age of rock and roll experimentation that it was — there are still just a handful of bands that I can say directly impacted me in the sort of way that would have a profound effect on who I eventually became as an adult.
The Beatles would almost certainly top that list. Seeing them on the Ed Sullivan Show at the age of seven blew my young mind in such a way that it gave birth to a lifelong obsession with music. In other words, I was pretty much ruined for life.
Three short years later, they did it again when Sgt. Pepper forced me to abandon my brief, pre-teen flirtations with the "bubblegum" pop of groups like the Monkees, and take a deeper look at what more "serious" artists like Bob Dylan (yeah, he's in there, too) and the various psychedelic bands of the day were saying in their music.
Unlikely as they might seem, Creedence Clearwater Revival were one of those bands. They were right up there, as a matter of fact.
I only use the word "unlikely" because at the time Creedence were in many ways more of a "singles band." At least they were when compared to the other acid rock groups who came out of San Francisco at the time like the Airplane, the Dead, and Big Brother. They garnered the same sort of respect as those other bands — at first, anyway. But unlike them, Creedence's primary medium was the three or four minute single, rather than the full-length album.
Of course CCR's longer songs, like Bayou Country's seven minute "Keep On Chooglin," got played on the progressive FM rock stations just like the Jefferson Airplane and Cream did. But over the course of three brief years from 1968 to 1971, Creedence also pretty much ruled top forty AM radio. They had an unstoppable string of hit singles from "Proud Mary" right on through to "Hey Tonight" and "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" from their sixth album, 1971's Pendulum.
Oh, and one other thing. Although he would only be recognized as such decades after the fact, John Fogerty was writing some of the best and most defining and enduring songs of that, or any other, era during those years in the sixties with Creedence.