Before You Accuse Me: A Bluesy Plea for Understanding from Creedence Clearwater Revival

“Before You Accuse Me” is a song written and recorded by American musician Bo Diddley in 1957. It was first released as the B-side to his song “Say Bossman” and appeared on his debut album in 1958. Bo Diddley sang and played guitar on this track, with Jody Williams on guitar, Willie Dixon on bass, and Frank Kirkland on drums. The song has been covered by many artists, including Creedence Clearwater Revival and Eric Clapton.

Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded “Before You Accuse Me” for their fifth album, “Cosmo’s Factory,” in 1970. John Fogerty, the lead singer, played both guitar and piano on their version. According to biographer Thomas M. Kitts, the lyrics talk about deflecting blame back onto the accuser. Fogerty may have chosen this song to send a message to his band members during a time of growing tension and dissatisfaction with his leadership.

Eric Clapton has recorded “Before You Accuse Me” multiple times. An electric version is on his 1989 album “Journeyman” and was the B-side of his hit single “Pretending,” reaching number nine on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in 1990. An acoustic version is featured on his 1992 “Unplugged” album, and another acoustic version recorded during the sessions for his 1978 album “Backless” appears on his 1999 compilation “Blues.” Clapton has also performed the song live, such as at the Knebworth Festival on June 30, 1990.


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