“Run Through the Jungle” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Given the year in which it was released (1970) as well as the fact that Creedence Clearwater Revival had dropped a couple of anti-war songs prior, many people consider “Run Through the Jungle” as a song centered on the Vietnam War. And why not? After all from an American perspective, the word “jungle” was a major part of that experience. Moreover it is easy to perceive that armed conflict is a major theme of this track, as it uses terminology such as “two-hundred million guns are loaded”, “fill the land with smoke” and most-importantly the line which comprises the chorus, “better run through the jungle”. And all of these statements put together logically conjure up an image of a gun fight being conducted in a jungle setting.
However, within the context of this song, the word “jungle” is actually synonymous with the United States itself. And the “two-hundred million guns” speaks to the fact that, as the song’s writer John Fogerty put it, “around that time… there was one gun for every man, woman and child in America”. It should be noted that the population of the United States was a little over 200 million in 1970. So the experience that “Run Through the Jungle” is actually speaking of is “the proliferation of guns” in America. In other words, it is indeed a song of protest, but what it is actually advocating is domestic gun control, not the end of the Vietnam War (though the lyrics read as if they are intentionally meant to draw such a parallel).
John Fogerty’s Statement about the Lyrics
Below are Fogerty’s exact words regarding the meaning of “Run Through the Jungle”:
Now keep in mind that gun control didn’t really become a hot topic in the United States until the turn of the century. Also the nation was not plagued with random and mass shootings back then as it is today. So this song is very prophetic, as in Fogerty perceiving that the prevalence of guns in American society would eventual develop into a major issue. And how right he was!
Song is a part of American Pop Culture
This classic hit has maintained a presence in American pop culture, appearing in quite a few movies throughout the decades. It also is a regular part of the playlists of videogames centered on the Vietnam War.
Release Date and Success of “Run Through the Jungle”
Creedence Clearwater Revival released this classic a single in April of 1970. The song was actually the B-side to “Up Around the Bend”, another of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s songs which proved to be a hit. Thus the two tracks were counted as one by Billboard and collectively peaked at number four on the Hot 100. Additionally the single also sold in excess of one-million copies.
“Run Through the Jungle” was eventually featured on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s album Cosmo’s Factory. This album came out on 25 July 1970.
Who wrote “Run Through the Jungle”?
This song was written and produced by Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty. He has referred to this song as his “all-time favorite Creedence tune”.
Are there any covers of “Run Through the Jungle”?
Since this hit was released in 1970, several artists (including Bruce Springsteen) have covered it. Aside Springsteen, other notable artists and bands that have covered this song include Jeff Healey, The Cramps and The Gun Club.