EXCLUSIVE: Production is underway on a concert documentary about legendary rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival, built around one-of-a-kind performance footage of CCR that sat in a London vault for five decades.
Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges will narrate Travelin’ Band: Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall, a production of Craft Recordings, Concord Originals and Marathan Films. Bob Smeaton, the filmmaker behind Grammy-winning documentaries on The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, is directing the Creedence doc. Watch a new video for the song “Travelin’ Band” below.
“As a kid growing up in the UK during the late ’60s, early ’70s, Creedence were a band that I was only really aware of through their hit singles,” Smeaton said in a statement. “Therefore, making this film was an education for me, I was able to see and hear why they are worthy of their status as one of the greatest bands of all time. I knew they were good, I never knew they were that good.”
The band, at one point known as The Golliwogs, emerged in the late 1960s, with multi-instrumentalist John Fogerty the primary vocalist and songwriter. Their extraordinary catalog of hits includes “Proud Mary,” “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Down on the Corner,” “Fortunate Son,” “Born on the Bayou,” “Up Around the Bend,” and “Travelin’ Band.”
The documentary “takes the viewer on a journey from the band’s humble, yet formative years in El Cerrito, CA, to their meteoric rise in 1969, from headlining Woodstock to selling out the Oakland Coliseum before traveling through Europe and taking the stage at the Royal Albert Hall, the most prestigious music venue in the U.K.,” according to a release about the film. “Years of research, discovery and restoration have gone into the project including finding the original [Royal Albert Hall] concert footage in a London vault, which has been fully restored after 50 years of storage.”
In addition, the film will include “previously unreleased 16mm footage of the legendary performance, fly-on-the-wall band interactions and interviews unearthed from the Fantasy Records vault, plus what is believed to be the earliest known footage of Creedence performing.”
Fans of The Big Lebowski will recall The Dude, played by Bridges, is a CCR fan; in the Coen Brothers film, The Dude’s vintage vehicle is stolen, containing a tape deck and Creedence tapes. Bridges is both an actor and musician and a Creedence fan himself.
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“What a band! Love listenin’ to ‘em, love playin’ Fogerty’s tunes,” Bridges said. “They’re certainly favorites of mine. Creedence, yeah, man.”
Producers of the documentary are Sig Sigworth (R.E.M. by MTV), Jonathan Clyde (The Beatles: Get Back), Martin R. Smith (The Beatles: Sgt Pepper’s Musical Revolution) and John Beug (Running Down a Dream Tom Petty). Concord’s Scott Pascucci (The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years), Bob Valentine and Concord Original’s Sophia Dilley (Billie) executive produce. Wesley Adams, Charles Hopkins and Taylor Umphenour serve as co-producers.
“Unveiling the power of Creedence at a high point in their career with this long-lost footage is extraordinary in its own right,” Sigworth noted. “To have Jeff Bridges narrate us through that discovery is when pop culture collides into something bigger.”
No projected release date for the film has been announced. Distribution rights are being handled by CAA Media Finance.
The team spearheading the project hail CCR’s hits as “not just as rock staples, but as timeless standards. With so many memorable compositions that continue to grace the radio waves, television and film screens, and lyrics that still resonate today, Creedence Clearwater Revival is, truly, America’s Greatest Rock Band.”
Back in 1980, Creedence’s ex-label Fantasy Records released The Royal Albert Hall Concert, a live album that purportedly chronicled the show featured in the new documentary. But the label later admitted that the performance actually was recorded at the Oakland Coliseum — it claimed a labeling error — and subsequent pressings were titled simply The Concert.
Here is the new video for Creedence’s 1970 hit “Travelin’ Band,” which features footage shot during the band’s 1969-70 tour:
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