It is 1969 – John Fogerty, the front man and lead guitarist of the rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) writes the song »Bad Moon Rising«. He was inspired by a black-and-white movie called »The Devil and Daniel Webster«, in which almost an entire city is obliterated by a hurricane. Fogerty creates gloomy lyrics that warn about the threat of destruction and its bringer of ill luck, being the rising Moon.
When listening to the song, however (and everyone has encountered it at some point), you are taken aback because the music is everything else but gloomy. Composed in D major, A major and G major (so no minor at all), and the cheerful sounds of the guitar with country elements, you are floating through the song and are not inclined to think about an Armageddon whatsoever. This also ties in with the running gag, when listening to or singing the part in the chorus ›There’s a bathroom on the right‹ instead of ›There’s a bad moon on the rise‹. John Fogerty has used this joke many times in live concerts.
»I see the bad moon rising
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightning
I see bad times today
Don’t go around tonight
Well, it’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise
I hear hurricanes ablowing
I know the end is coming soon …«
The ambivalence between the gloomy lyrics and the happy melody, are probably what creates the success and uniqueness of this song. It was also the time of the Vietnam War and many looked a the lyrics as being political: as a warning of the impending disaster. This is how the song hit the nerve of that time.
It is possible that the Moon was determined not to be branded as the villain and made a deal with John Fogerty, where he at least would compose positive music and hence promised him the full success for this song in return. After all, »Bad Moon Rising« is on place 364 in the list of »500 greatest-songs-of-all-time« of the Rolling Stone Magazine. This is truly not to be scoffed at.