Prince Keeps on Burnin’ with ‘Proud Mary': 365 Prince Songs in a Year
To celebrate the incredibly prolific, influential and diverse body of work left behind by Prince, we will be exploring a different song of his each day for an entire year with the series 365 Prince Songs in a Year.
Prince could sometimes seem like he was broadcasting his musical transmissions from another planet, but he grew up listening to a lot of the same stuff as the rest of us, and his influences weren't all that different from anyone else's. Take, for example, his longtime love of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Proud Mary."
First recorded for CCR's 1969 Bayou Country LP, the song was a big hit for Creedence — peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard charts — before entering the pop lexicon as a widespread favorite target for artists seeking cover material. Soul legend Solomon Burke recorded his own version later in '69, and Ike and Tina Turner released theirs in early 1971, turning it into a standard of their own catalog that proved so durable, Tina Turner was still performing it as a show-stopping number at her own solo shows decades later.
As Prince explains in the above video, "Proud Mary" was a part of his own formative musical fabric; in fact, he claimed it was the first song he ever played on guitar, and was a number he'd pull out to impress people during his early years learning the instrument. Clearly, his love of the song stayed with him — when he played the halftime show of Super Bowl XLI in Feb. 2007, he made "Proud Mary" part of his setlist.
Interestingly, the stage wasn't the only place Prince was moved to return to his Creedence-influenced roots. According to the Prince Vault, he tackled the track in the studio during some late 1994 sessions with the New Power Generation, and although that recording was never officially released, it stands as proof that no matter how far out he traveled, His Purple Majesty never grew 2 funky 4 his roots.