Certain musical artists are ingrained in the soundtrack of our lives. Others are ingrained in the soundtrack of our soundtracks. Tuesday's guest John Fogerty has accomplished both.
It may be hard to believe, but Fogerty has appeared in more films and TV than Adam Sandler, Daniel Day Lewis, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Robert DeNiro, and Dame Judi Dench. Granted, it's usually just his voice, but still, it's damn impressive.
What can we attribute this to? It may be very simple: the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival just plain sounds like America. As a result, many of CCR's biggest hits work absolutely perfectly for some key types of film scenes. Today, we crunch the numbers and take a look at the sheer staggering amount of CCR-accompanied scenes, including which songs work best for which kind of scenes, and specifically where they appear. Spoiler alert: Vietnam is usually involved.
NOTE: All data is gathered from IMDB.com.
Screen Credits: 19
For Use When: It's Vietnam.
Stars In: "Forrest Gump" "Live Free or Die Hard" "Crossing The Bridge" "Battleship"
If characters are protesting Vietnam, fighting in Vietnam, or eating Vietnamese food, "Fortunate Son" just automatically plays. It's a rule of cinema. "Fortunate"-ly, "Fortunate Son" is a monster song that never gets old. Just as soon as that riff kicks in, the heart starts pumping and you can't help but reach for the nearest camo bandana and picketing sign. It's only appeared in films 19 times according to IMDB, but that would mean there are only 19 films, because we're pretty sure "Fortunate Son" is in every movie.
"Bad Moon Rising"
Screen Credits: 30
For Use When: Bad shit's about to go down; characters are in Vietnam.
Stars In: "An American Werewolf in London" "Man Of the House" "Blade"
It's hard to claim there's a better song to set up potential foreboding this side of "Gimme Shelter." Any time a character enters a new environment where things seem just a little off, keep an ear peeled for those Fogerty intro strums. Also may be used by accident in films in which there is a "bathroom on the right."
"Run Through the Jungle"
Screen Credits: 14
For Use When: The protagonist is in over his head somehow; Vietnam.
Stars In: "Rudy," "My Girl" "The Big Lebowski" "Air America" "The Sapphires"
The foreboding riff and Fogerty's chill-inducing growl make "Run Through the Jungle" the perfect paranoia anthem, and several filmmakers apparently agree. Take a look at this perfect example from "The Big Lebowski" and judge for yourself.
"Up Around the Bend"
Screen Credits: 13
For Use When: Good times are being had (perhaps whilst in 'Nam.)
Stars In: "Red Dawn" (2012) "The Hoax" "Invincible" "Remember the Titans" "Michael"
The most uplifting riff ever? Possibly, very possibly. At the very least, "Up Around the Bend" sounds like a party -- particularly one where a group of mismatched characters are finally getting along for the first time. Case in point: this scene from "Remember the Titans." (Song starts at 5:30)
"Lookin' Out My Back Door"
Screen Credits: 5
For Use When: Drugs are happening; Vietnam drugs are happening.
Stars In: "The Big Lebowski" "We Are Marshall"
"Drug scenes" fall into a few distinct categories. There's the Tripping Balls scene, where a character is just out of their minds. For those, you can use a Jefferson Airplane, Doors, or (most likely) Jimi Hendrix song to get the point across. Then there's the "Just Mellowing Out, Man" drug scene, which is best served by "Lookin' Out My Back Door." Everything's good, I had some drugs, and now I'm just mellowing out, man.
"Keep On Chooglin"
Screen Credits: 10
For Use When: Characters are having a great time because they are not in Vietnam (or are).
Stars In: "The Expendables" "Stolen" "Where the Buffalo Roam" "Wild Hogs"
Training montages will never go out of style, which means there will always be a need for "Keep On Chooglin'" in cinema. According to the song, "chooglin'" translates roughly as: "to ball [and thus] have a good time." The song works best to accompany a bunch of pals, just cutting loose.
"Have You Ever Seen The Rain"/"Who'll Stop The Rain"
Screen Credits: (combined) 27
For Use When: It's literally raining in Vietnam.
Stars In: "High Life" "December Boys" "Evan Almighty" "The Longest Yard"
Sometimes in movies, it rains. Other times, the film takes place in Vietnam. Other other times, it rains in Vietnam. No matter, both CCR "rain" songs are tailor made for those occasions. For example, there's this 1978 film about Vietnam, titled "Who'll Stop The Rain." Vietnam and CCR -- a match made in movie heaven!