Battle of the Bands – “Proud Mary”


Today marks the start of another Battle! I’m presenting two very different versions of the same song and both versions are charting hits.

“Proud Mary” is a rock song written by John Fogerty and first recorded by his band Creedence Clearwater Revival. The song was released by Fantasy Records as a single from the band’s second studio album, Bayou Country, January 1969. The song became a hit in the United States, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1969.

In a 1969 interview, Fogerty said that he wrote it in the two days after he was discharged from the National Guard. “In the liner notes for the 2008 expanded reissue of Bayou Country, Joel Selvin explained that the songs for the album started when John Fogerty was in the National Guard, that the riffs for “Proud Mary,” “Born on the Bayou,” and “Keep on Chooglin'” were conceived by Fogerty at a concert in the Avalon Ballroom, and “Proud Mary” was arranged from parts of different songs, one of which was about a “washerwoman named Mary.” The line “Left a good job in the city” was written following Fogerty’s discharge from the National Guard, and the line “rollin’ on the river” was from a movie by Will Rogers.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Tina Turner first covered “Proud Mary” in 1970 with her husband at the time, Ike Turner. The Ike & Tina Turner version was released as a single from their Workin’ Together album and the song differed greatly from the structure of the original, but is also well known and has become one of Tina’s most recognizable signature songs. The Turners’ version was substantially rearranged by Ike Turner and Soko Richardson. The song started off with a slow, sultry tone; after the lyrics are first sung softly by the Turners, the song is then turned into a funk rock vamp with Turner and assorted background singers delivering soulful vocals. It reached #4 on the pop charts on March 27, 1971, two years to the week after Creedence Clearwater Revival’s version was at its peak, and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group in 1972. (Source: Wikipedia)

Both Creedence Clearwater Revival’s and Ike & Tina Turner’s versions of the song received Grammy Hall of Fame Awards, in 1998 and 2003, respectively. And both versions charted in Billboards top five, #2 and #4, respectively. So this battle may be a toss-up. I know I like both versions.

To make it most fair, I’m presenting live performances by each band:

Creedence Clearwater Revival version:


Ike & Tina Turner version:


Such a great song! “Proud Mary” placed at #155 on Rolling Stone’s 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Now it’s time for you to vote! Who’s version do you like best and why?

To check out the other Battle of the Bands participants, here is a list with links. Lots of great battles to explore:

Don’t forget to cast your vote! And thanks for playing along…




34 thoughts on “Battle of the Bands – “Proud Mary”

  1. I’ve been waiting for someone to use this song. Back when in the 70’s every bar band was required to play this song I think. It was so prevalent that I did get a bit tired of it. But it is a classic.

    I remember the first time I saw Ike and Tina perform this song on TV. It really blew me away! Such energy!

    However, that being said, the Turners’ version is to me primarily a performance piece.

    Musically I’ll take the loping sound of CCR and that’s where my vote goes.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out


    • I agree. I like both versions but Ike and Tina’s are good for a show but for everyday listening and singing along, I like CCR best. Thanks for your vote!


  2. Great battle, Michele! 🙂 I do love both versions of the song, but, the original brings back the most memories and resonates just a bit more, plus I’m a HUGE CCR fan, so, cast my vote for John Fogerty and CCR.


    • Wow, CCR is taking it away so far. Which surprises me. I’ve always been a big CCR fan too. There isn’t a CCR song that I don’t like! Thanks for your vote.


  3. Hey Michele – This is a song that I loved – it’s tough to choose because I like both versions. I saw Credence do this life years ago, and at that time I never thought another version would drag me away from their’s. Later when Ike and Tina did their take, I was amazed at how much I wanted to get up and dance with them. To me, it was even better once she ditched Ike!

    Good battle. My vote is for Ike and Tina.


    • I’m not reading anyone else’s post before my vote, ha ha! This one is very close for me. I love CCR across the board but for this song, it’s got to be IKE AND TINE TURNER.

      Great pairing, by the way!


    • Ah, yay, the first vote for Ike and Tina! I like Ike’s deep voice in this version and Tina, well, it’s Tina. I’d give just about anything to have her legs! Thanks for your vote…


  4. Hiya .. yes I’d vote for Creedence Clearwater Revival .. based on ‘ancient history’ = mine! But Tina Turner is amazing … just not this song .. cheers Hilary


  5. I don’t know if it’s telling of my age (or lack of), but Creedence Clearwater Revival is my choice. I remember hearing it growing up and it has a nostalgic feel to it. Plus, it’s just an awesome song!


    • Thanks for your vote Madilyn. It’s hard to beat Creedence Clearwater Revival, in my opinion anyway. They have such an awesome body of work. I’ve got you down for CCR.


  6. I like both of these versions, Creedence’s because it’s the original, Ike and Tina’s because they took a boring song and made it not boring. For that reason, Ike and Tina’s version wins this one.


    • Sultry: great word to describe Tina Turner! And yes, Ike is a terrible man. He put her through so much. I’m so glad she stayed strong and got away from him. Thanks for your vote: I have you down for the Tina & Ike version.


  7. This is a tough one because both are just classics. I had to step away from the performance. If we were voting for the actual showmanship I would vote for Tina (I am leaving Ike out cos he is one mean SOB) but I am voting for the actual song so I give it to CCR. I love the musicality of it more with the styling of it.


  8. This song has a lot of memories for me. My husband and I loved to dance and we loved dancing to this. There were times I thought I’d die before the song ended. The band that we listened play this the most was a local band and they did it much like Ike and Tina did. Which I love. But I have to vote for CCR. I graduated from high school in 1969 and this song was so popular at that time. I love your Battle of the Bands series. I am going to go check out some of the others.


    • Hey Paula. That’s what I love most about music, I think, is its ability to bring forth memories of times long past. That’s probably why I listen to Classic Rock so much: my growing up years were tons of fun so all these old songs usually bring back really happy memories. Thanks for your vote. I have you down for CCR! Glad you’re checking out the other battles. Some really great ones this time around (and always, I might add 🙂 )


  9. Nothing at all fair about this match-up. Tina is a force of musical natural talent. I liked the bit with Ike, and it really could have ended there and been awesome. And I’ve always loved Tina as a performer, so her and her back-up just rock this song. But as mentioned previously, it is a great live “show”.

    Credence just sounds good. They are not the performers that Ike and Tina are, which makes them great on vinyl, but probably not a band I’d ever go to see in concert.

    Tough choice here. I’ll give the vote to Tina for this, cuz you just gotta pay homage to her love of an audience; and she does have an awesome voice.


    • Hey Delorah. Thanks for your input. We have another vote going for Tina. Not sure why you think it’s an unfair match-up. People are voting for both Tina & Ike and CCR so it’s not a shutout. Tina definitely puts on a great show, no doubt about that. I’m glad she took that song with her when she left him as it became her signature song in all of her solo performances…and I’m sure she was much happier performing it solo than with her wretched husband. Thanks for your vote and comments; I’ve gotcha down for Tina. Will be interesting to see how this one shakes out…


  10. I know many will disagree with me, but I’ve always felt Ike & Tina (and even Tina as a solo performer) were overrated. Not bad, mind you, but just overrated. To me, Tina seemed like Aretha, and Aretha was definitely the poor person’s Mahalia.

    In this Battle, my vote goes to CCR.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    ‘Loyal American Underground’


  11. I expected to vote Ike and Tina on this one. I’ve used this song for karaoke more than once, and it’s always so much fun to sing.

    However, we aren’t basing this on “performance value,” but which arrangement we prefer. Turns out that I prefer CCR more. I think that if I had to watch/listen to them on a loop, I’d quickly tire of Ike and Tina, while I’d last longer with CCR.

    So, chalk one for CCR.


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