When the members of Credence Clearwater Revival stepped onto the stage at London‘s Royal Albert Hall on April 14, 1970 — coincidentally, just days after The Beatles announced their breakup — the California band had arguably just become the biggest rock band in the world. In the preceding year, CCR had five Top 10 singles and three Top 10 albums — Bayou Country, Green River and Willy and the Poor Boys — on the American charts, outselling The Beatles. They had appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and played to over a million people across the country, including Woodstock.
The band’s Southern fried, “swamp rock” sound” permeated global airwaves throughout 1969: “Proud Mary,” “Green River,” “Fortunate Son,” and “Down on the Corner” were in the Top Ten across Europe, North America and Australasia, while “Bad Moon Rising: hit #1 in the UK and New Zealand. The band managed to be both commercially and critically successful: Rolling Stone named them the “Best American Band.” The band started out the next year (and decade) with a hometown show at the Oakland Coliseum. Less than four months later, in April, CCR embarked on their first European tour, an eight show run that included stops in The Netherlands, Germany, France and Denmark.
The members of CCR considered their two sold-out London shows to be a test of sorts, to measure the success of their first European tour. The first night of the two-night run, they opened with “Born on the Bayou.” And as they closed out the show with “Keep on Chooglin’.” the band was met with a 15-minute standing ovation from the the crowd. The next day, they received rave reviews from The Times and NME, who at the time, wrote “Creedence Clearwater Revival had proved beyond a doubt that they are, in more opinions than mine, the Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World. In their capable hands, not only is the true spirit of rock music alive and well, but it is kicking like a mule.”
Just two years later, the band split up. But speculation around a live recording of the Royal Albert Hall show began to permeate through their fanbase in 1980. That same year Fantasy Records released a live album by the band, mistakenly titled The Royal Albert Hall Concert. But it was quickly discovered that the audio was from the Oakland Coliseum show a few months earlier. The label was forced to quickly sticker the album with corrections — and then they renamed the the January 1970 show, The Concert for later production runs.
Interestingly, those rumors about a long-lost recording of the Royal Albert Hall show are indeed true. Craft Recordings will be releasing the long-awaited live album Credence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall on 180-gram vinyl, CD and cassette tape on September 16, 2022. Select retailers will offer a variety of exclusive color variants on vinyl — Walmart will sell “Tombstone Shadow” colored vinyl, while Target will sell “Green River” colored vinyl. The album will also be available across the digital platforms. including in hi-res and Dolby ATMOS immersive audio formats. After spending almost 50 years in storage, the original multitrack tapes were meticulously restored and mixed by the Grammy Award-winning team of producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell, who have worked on The Beatles’ 50th-anniversary editions of Abbey Road and Sgt, Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and countless others. The LP was masted by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios using half-speed technology for the highest-quality listening experience.
The live album presents the Royal Albert Hall show in its entirety while capturing CCR at the apex of their career. Of course, the set features their now, classic hits like “Proud Mary,” a rollicking, live version of “Bad Moon Rising” and a furiously breakneck, live rendition of “Fortune Son,” a song centered around hard-hitting and incisive social commentary that still resonates 50 years after its release. It shouldn’t be surprising that bands like U2, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Rise Against, and countless others have covered it.
Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall will also be released concurrently with the Bob Smeaton-directed documentary concert film Travelin’ Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall. Narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges, the film takes viewers from the band’s earliest years in El Cerrito, CAthrough their rise to fame. Featuring a treasure trove of previously unseen footage, Travelin‘ Band culminates with the band’s Royal Albert Hall show — marking the only known live concert footage of the original CCR lineup. So to build up a little buzz for the album and the documentary, the label and the director shared some live footage of Credence Clearwater Revival’s original lineup performing the song at Royal Albert Hall.
By the way, on November 14, 2022 both the album and the film will be released in a Super Deluxe Edition Box Set. The 2-LP/2-CD/1-Blu-ray collection includes Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall on two 45-RPM 180-gram vinyl LPs as well as on CD. A second CD features music from the film, including formative recordings from the band’s earliest incarnations (including Tommy Fogerty and the Blue Velvets and The Golliwogs). The Blu-Ray offers the complete documentary film, plus the digital album in hi-res and Dolby ATMOS immersive audio. Limited to 5,000 copies globally, each individually numbered set is housed in a 12″ x 12″ box, with embossed gold foil detail and includes a reproduction of the original 1970s tour program, a 17″ x 24″ and a 16-page booklet, featuring an excerpt of Bridges’ voice-over script.
The pre-order for the album and the various packages is here: https://craftrecordings.com/pages/creedence-clearwater-revival-at-the-royal-albert-hall