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Journal of the
Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association
Volume 12, Number 1 (2012)

The 1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival Recording Contract and How it Shaped the Future of the Group and its Members

Hank Bordowitz
Bordowitz Media Werx
Bergen Community College

    By 1969, the record business had been around in some way, shape, or form for nearly eighty years. For an octogenarian, it had never been healthier. A study commissioned by John Wiley of Columbia Records said that the business had grown 250 percent in the decade between 1955 and 1965. It predicted the record business would double in size again within the next decade. “The end of the upward trend is not yet in sight,” added Wiley. “Our future has never held more promise” (Rood 1965).

    With the passing of rock and roll into just rock, the day of the music business robber barons had begun to fade. The previous decade saw musicians with massive hit records living in poverty, contracted to virtual slavery as recording artists. As Etta James once said, “I…started my show business life living in a private hotel where you could cook.

Other entertainers were there, like Curtis Mayfield. Everybody lived in this one hotel. I was the one who had the kitchen. We used to put all our money together to eat. At that time, we would get two cents, three cents, five cents for bottles and at the end of the day we would get our money together and we’d get some food and cook it. I remember us putting together and not having much, just enough to get some corn meal. And I learned that whenever you get hungry—I’ve told my kids this—if you’ve got enough money, you get some yellow corn meal and you get some sugar. You can always get some sugar somewhere, even if you have to walk into a McDonald’s someplace, and steal some of the sugar. Take sugar and cornmeal and fry it. Boy, is that good. Then, if you’ve got enough money, you get a little syrup. I remember we ate that for two days. (James 1988)

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