Friday, May 28, 2010

The Eagles v Creedence Clearwater Revival - Songwriters Match Up #6

This week our songwriters challenge pits The Eagles against Creedence Clearwater Revival. I think I was influenced by The Big Lebowski in coming up with this match up. Will I heed The Dude's advice and pick CCR over The Eagles? It's hard to say at this point, but I will try to make a reasonable analysis. Two great bands American rock bands....

Lyrics

John Fogerty was the primary songwriter of Creedence Clearwater Revival and he wrote the vast majority of the groups hits. Fogerty proved to be a machine, churning out hit after hit over the course of the band's aproximately five years together, writing such great songs as Proud Mary, Green River, Down on the Corner and Who'll Stop the Rain. Most of the Eagles hits were written by Don Henley and Glenn Fry with Joe Walsh occasionally contributing here as well. The lyrics of the songs such as Hotel California are tribute to the band's ability to write memorable and evocative lyrics. Both bands were capable of writing songs that provided political or social commentary – John Fogerty's Bad Moon Rising (supposedly about the re-election of Richard Nixon), Fortunate Son and Green River (songs with obvious reference to the war in Vietnam) were some of the era's best. Don Henley's Last Resort is a powerful indictment of the relentless destruction of nature at the hands of greedy developers. I think there is more poetry in the best of The Eagles songs – and for this reason I think that I should award this category to The Eagles. Ten points, The Eagles.

Composition

The Eagles sound was originally mellower with more bluegrass influence and over time became harder and less country. CCR wrote many great songs that were easy for garage bands to cover because they were so simple and straightforward. The Eagles were more ambitious overall, eventually making use of orchestral arrangements on the album Hotel California. There is a greater variety of instruments in The Eagle's work including mandolin and banjo in some of the earlier material. Ten points for The Eagles.

Originality

CCR had an original sound that is difficult to categorize – it has been called swamp rock. It was sometimes assumed the group was from Louisiana (actually it was formed in California) because of songs like Born on the Bayou. The Eagles country rock sound had it's roots in the California music scene at the time. In fact most of the original incarnation of the band were performing as Linda Ronstadt band while she was on tour. The fusion of bluegrass, country and rock that was part of The Eagles early sound was unique at the time. It's close, but I'm giving Five points here to The Eagles.

Influence

The Eagles were among the vanguards of country rock and among the most successful. You could reasonably argue that Neil Young and The Flying Burrito Brothers among other bands were at least as important to the birth of the country rock genre, but I believe that because The Eagles garnered such extensive radio play during the seventies on both rock and country radio stations, they probably influenced more of the current crop of country rock artists. Five more points for The Eagles.


Durability

CCRs straightforward, passionate rock continues to inspire new generations of rock and roll musicians. There are so many great songs here and I believe that it stands the test of time better. Maybe it's just me, but I'd rather still listen to CCR because although it is old, for some reason it is not so heavily tied to any particular decade as The Eagles are to the seventies. Five points CCR.

Conclusion – The Eagles win this weeks songwriters match up 30 to 5
. But I'd still still rather listen to CCR if me and The Dude were road tripping.

4 comments:

  1. Given your criteria, I suppose I have to agree with you on this... but, man, the Eagles can fill one record with great songs, whereas CCR could fill two with GREAT songs. Plus, I think CCR had more range. The Eagles only wrote about one subject well -- LA.
    Plus, Don Henley is just plain annoying.

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  2. The system I am using needs to be tweaked - I think that I need to allow the points to be divided between the two I am considering instead of awarding all of the points to the winner. These two should be scored a lot closer than 30 to 5. Personally I'd rather listen to CCR than The Eagles. I'd have to differ with you on one thing, The Eagles could write songs on a number of subjects - cheating spouses, the rape of the land, partying, desperados etc.

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  3. While your comparison deserves merit, it's too lopsided. The Eagles are more original than CCR? No way. There's been many SoCal country rock bands. (though, in fairness, they did evolved over time) There's only been 1 'swamp rock' band. Also, CCR were only together for 5 years. Compare that, to the Eagles 35+ year career. That should count for something. Like you, I love both bands. And, like you, I'd rather hear CCR.

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  4. I grew up with credence. I spent my first college grant on all their albums. I loved the eagles. No one can take away my love for both. Heuer

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