"Born on the Bayou" (1968) is the first track on Creedence Clearwater Revival's second album, Bayou Country. It was released as the B-side of the single "Proud Mary" that reached #2 on the Billboard Charts.
Songwriter John Fogerty set the song in the South, despite neither having lived nor widely traveled there. He commented:
"Born on the Bayou" was vaguely like "Porterville," about a mythical childhood and a heat-filled time, the Fourth of July. I put it in the swamp where, of course, I had never lived. It was late as I was writing. I was trying to be a pure writer, no guitar in hand, visualizing and looking at the bare walls of my apartment. Tiny apartments have wonderful bare walls, especially when you can't afford to put anything on them. "Chasing down a hoodoo." Hoodoo is a magical, mystical, spiritual, non-defined apparition, like a ghost or a shadow, not necessarily evil, but certainly other-worldly. I was getting some of that imagery from Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters.
John Fogerty's unreleased 1976 solo album, Hoodoo, was possibly named after the line in the song.
"Born on the Bayou" is an example of 'swamp rock', a genre associated with John Fogerty, Little Feat/Lowell George, The Band, Canned Heat, J.J. Cale, The Doobie Brothers and Tony Joe White. The guitar setting for the intro is over-driven with amp tremolo on a slow setting; Fogerty uses a Gibson ES-175 (which was stolen from his car soon after recording this track). The E7 chord gives the song a strong Southern blues feel. To many, the vocal performance on this track represents a pinnacle in John Fogerty's singing, the performance as a whole is regarded as one of Creedence Clearwater Revival's finest hours. "Born on the Bayou" opened most of CCR's concerts, and was known as the band's signature song.