Tag: Tina Turner

River Roads: “Proud Mary” by Kelsey Miranda

Creedence Clearwater Revival-


Tina Turner-


In our readings for this week the road symbolized many ideas, primarily the freedom to go anywhere if you have a car and some gas money. It also could symbolize an idea of escapism from responsibility, which can be found in movies that revolve around roads trips and driving across the country.  But before there were roads, there were riverboats and railroads that were used for transportation.  The song “Proud Mary” has a nostalgic awareness within the song that brings the idea of the riverboat as the way to find happiness and freedom. The beginning of the song starts “Left a good job in the city, working for the Man every night and day, But I never lost a minute of sleeping, Worrying about the way things might have been.” This part of the song describes the desire of the rider of the Proud Mary to escape their life from the city.  Despite losing money from leaving their job, the song explains that the rider does not regret their decision. The chorus of the song “Big wheel keep on turning, Proud Mary keep on burning” emphasizes the choice the rider made to go on the riverboat.

The next verse of the song “Proud Mary” discusses the poverty that comes along escapism of responsibility. The verse starts “Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis, Pumped a lot of tane down in New Orleans.” This part of the song suggests the work the rider did to feed him or herself and make some money. Despite not having a lot of money, the rider in this story experiences freedom.

In the last verse of the song,  “If you come down to the River, Bet you’re gonna find some people who live, You don’t have to worry ‘cause you have no money, People on the river are happy to give.” This part of the song the rider describes the people who live around the river. The rider recognizes that the people around the river do not have a lot of money but they are happy. The song ends with the chorus solidifying the decision of riding the Proud Mary riverboat.  The song is about experiencing freedom by following your dream and living life to the fullest.

The writer of the song, John Fogerty, wrote the song after he received a honorable discharge from the Army Reserve during the Vietnam War.  Although Fogerty never took the river journey on the riverboat queen, he ideas of freedom were inspired about his newfound freedom and the riverboat served as symbol of that.  In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Fogerty admits that always loved Mark Twain’s writing, which inspired him to write the lyrics of the song about a riverboat.[1]



[1] http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323648304578494993596953764