For almost 40 years now, movies about the Vietnam War set the tone with songs from Creedence Clearwater Revival. It started with the movie Who’ll Stop the Rain in 1978, then became forever connected with Vietnam in Apocalypse Now (1979). You'll also hear various CCR songs in 1969 (1988), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), Air America (1990), Forrest Gump (1994), Tropic Thunder (2008), The Sapphires (2012), and The Post (2017), among others. The sound has become a shortcut for placing the viewer into Vietnam during the war.
Most Creedence songs contain no direct reference to the war (though “Run Through the Jungle” is frequently misinterpreted as such), but they do evoke a period when the war dominated American life. “That was when the band was popular,” says bassist Stu Cook. “Creedence was part of the soundtrack of the time.”
Creedence’s career was a model of speedy efficiency: seven albums in four years. The band recorded at an absurd pace, releasing three LPs in 1969 alone, and disbanded less than five years after adopting the Creedence name. But the brevity of the band’s career seems to have contributed to its longevity as a cultural avatar of one hyperspecific era—a particularly tumultuous period that’s constantly depicted onscreen. If you’re soundtracking a movie set between 1968 and 1971, why not go with the iconic band whose hits were entirely clustered between 1968 and 1971?