Listen to Episode 21 of Slate’s Hit Parade:
In just a couple of years, Creedence Clearwater Revival generated one of the most amazing runs of hits in American pop history: from “Proud Mary” to “Green River,” “Bad Moon Rising” to “Travelin’ Band.” Reportedly, they even outsold the Beatles in America in 1969. But for all their success with those John Fogerty–penned classics, CCR never held the No. 1 spot on the Hot 100. All of those hits were No. 2s: a Billboard chart record they hold to this day, for most No. 2s without a No. 1. True, it was the late ’60s, and CCR had the bad luck to be competing with such chart titans as Paul Simon and Sly Stone … but sometimes they were held back by No. 1 songs that are barely remembered today. In this episode of Hit Parade, we break down the sequence of events that relegated CCR—a future first-ballot Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band—to the charts’ permanent runner-up slot.