John Burk, President of Concord Label Group, which owns the original masters and publishing rights for the songs of Creedence Clearwater Revival, calls the CCR catalog one of the company’s “crown jewel assets.”
“They are just such classic, classic songs,” Burk tells Billboard. But while he’s become used to getting calls to license songs that defined an American era for biker movies and soundtracks for films about the Vietnam War, he hadn’t been aware until recently of the demand for Creedence among the Spanish-speaking public.
“It turned out that the highest concentration of Creedence’s Facebook fans on the planet was in Mexico City,” Burk says. “I didn’t realize how revered Creedence and John Fogerty were in the world of Latin rock and alternative. I thought, ‘there’s really something here.’”
That revelation led to the release of a new Latin tribute to the band on the Concord Picante label: Quiero Creedence will be out July 29.
The album’s 14 Spanish and bilingual covers include classic rocker Enrique Bunbury’s “Run Through the Jungle,” and an emotional, Dylanesque take on “Long As I Can See the Light” from Andres Calamaro that voices the Argentine’s deep connection to the annals of rock.
The members of Mexican legendary rock band El Tri, who are Creedence contemporaries, ride “Proud Mary” in a version that closely honors the original. Ozomatli takes a rock-steady approach to “Bad Moon Rising.” Band of Bitches’ delivers a cool “Feelin’ Blue.” Bay Area band Bang Data’s rap-enhanced bilingual version of “Fortunate Son” is a stand out that accentuates the current resonance of the messages in CCR’s songs.
Juan Caipo, the co-leader of Bang Data, had the idea for the Creedence tribute album. He joined with Diana Rodriguez, the CEO of Los Angeles’ Criteria Entertainment, a management and production company focused on the Latin American market, to produce it. They began reaching out to artists and recording the tracks, and Rodriguez presented the project to Burk.
“Creedence is such an iconic band in Latin America,” Rodriguez says. “But it has never been as widely acknowledged as others.”
The album’s first, and most unexpected, single was from Mexican pop star Juan Gabriel, who performs a sunshiny version of CCR’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” that he translated as “Gracias al Sol.” The video, set in a flowering garden, has over 6 million views on YouTube.
“It’s really amazing how all the different styles and approaches work with these great songs,” Burk says of the album. “It’s kind of a mash up of two cultures uniting over music that’s revered.”