Meaning of Bad Moon Rising by CCR & Song Story

The composition Bad Moon Rising by the rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival is considered to be anti-war. In Vietnam it was a hit with American soldiers, and in the US it was sung by peace demonstrators. John Fogerty is said to have written it on the day Richard Nixon was elected president of the United States, but the musician denies political overtones and says he drew inspiration from other sources.

Story of Bad Moon Rising

In 1968 CCR recorded a hit cover version of Susie Q by Dale Hawkins. Early the following year, their Proud Mary shot up to number two on the Billboard Hot 100.

Realizing that the love of the audience is fleeting, John Fogerty took on the next hit.

I composed the chords and the melody, and then I took the phrase “bad moon rising” from the notebook in which I had been writing down song titles since 1967. I didn’t even know what it meant. I just liked the way the words sound.

Fogerty says in his memoirs that he copied the guitar part from Scotty Moore. The American guitarist composed it for the Elvis Presley version of the song “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone”. However, John never hid the fact of borrowing, and Moore did not make any claims to him and even joked about it.

Meaning of Bad Moon Rising

The main idea and words were born thanks to the cinema.

I got the images from an old movie called The Devil and Daniel Webster. [1941]. In general, there Daniel Webster makes a deal with Mr. Scratch, the devil. It was supposed to be unreliable. At some point in the film, a powerful hurricane struck. All houses were destroyed and crops destroyed. Boom. And next door is a guy’s field that made a deal with the devil, and his corn is flat, under two meters. This image stuck in my head.

Rolling Stone 1993

Explaining what the song Bad Moon Rising is about, John Fogerty noted the contrast between the ominous words and the major sound:

My song is not about Mr. Scratch and it’s not about a deal [с дьяволом]. It’s about the apocalypse that is coming upon us. Before the band started learning this song, I didn’t see the dichotomy. The song talks about all these hurricanes, gusts of wind, incredible destruction and the like, but right there: “I see a bad moon rising”. The melody sounds fun, doesn’t it? Then it didn’t bother me.

Rolling Stone 1993

Later, John Fogerty came to the conclusion that he composed the composition, being under the impression of a difficult political situation.

I didn’t really say that the world was ending, but the song was a metaphor. I didn’t just write about the weather. Times seemed hectic then. Martin Luther King and [сенатор] Robert F. Kennedy. I understood that times were turbulent.

Bad Moon Rising recording

The song was recorded in March 1969. Bad Moon Rising was made at Wally Heider’s Studio in San Francisco. The composition was liked by all the participants of Creedence Clearwater Revival, except for the author. Let’s hear from John:

It’s funny how I felt like she wasn’t up to the level of Proud Mary. I was worried if I was already downhill. She was much more rock ‘n’ roll, while Proud Mary had to do with the standards of early American music.

Release and achievements

The song was released as a single in April 1969. She topped the charts in several countries, including the UK and New Zealand. The track climbed to number two on the Billboard Hot 100.

Watch the official text video for Bad Moon Rising – CCR.

There are at least twenty official cover versions of the composition recorded in different genres. Listen to Thea Gilmore sing Bad Moon Rising.

Bad Moon Rising has been featured on the soundtracks of countless feature films and television series, including Blade, An American Werewolf in London, Kong: Skull Island, Supernatural (Supernatural) and The Walking Dead (The Walking Dead). In addition, she sounded in numerous commercials.

John Fogerty commented on the incredible popularity of the composition in contemporary culture:

I was also against Bad Moon Rising being thrown around on TV commercials or some old movies, but under the contract we didn’t have the right to veto the use of our music. And for every good movie you’ve heard her in, […] there were at least a dozen terrible ones.

Rolling Stone and New Musical Express included Bad Moon Rising in their ratings of the greatest songs of all time.

In 2010, Jerry Lee Lewis recorded and performed Bad Moon Rising with John Fogerty. She was included in Lewis’ album Mean Old Man.

Interesting Facts

  • The phrase “there’s a bad moon on the rise” is heard by many as “there’s a bathroom on the right” (“the bathroom is on the right”). Knowing this, John Fogerty sometimes deliberately sings incorrectly at concerts, and sometimes points his hand to the right.
  • In Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music, John Fogerty recounts how a Vietnam veteran approached him after a concert at Berkeley Hall School. He said that their platoon, called the Buffalo Soldiers, always tuned in before the battle, listening to Bad Moon Rising.
  • Under Bad Moon Rising, UFC fighter Jim Miller entered the ring.

Bad Moon Rising Lyrics

I see a bad moon a-rising
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightning
I see bad times today

Don’t go ’round tonight
It’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise

I hear hurricanes a-blowing
I know the end is coming soon
I fear rivers over flowing
I hear the voice of rage and ruin


I hope you got your things together
I hope you are ready to die
Look’s like we’re in for nasty weather
One eye is taken for an eye


Bad Moon Rising Lyrics Alternative

I see the bad moon rising
I see trouble ahead
I see earthquakes and lightning
I see hard times today

Don’t wander around tonight
She’ll take your life for sure
The bad moon rises

I hear the roar of the hurricane
I know the end is near
I’m afraid the rivers will overflow their banks
I hear the voice of rage and destruction


I hope you packed your things
I hope you’re ready to die
The weather seems to be quite nasty
An eye is pulled out for an eye


Song quote

I could have written this song yesterday. It still reflects my personality and approach to business. I am very proud of Bad Moon Rising. I’m grateful that forty years later people still love the song and I’m still here to sing it.

John Fogerty,

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