The song was written by Creedence’s lead singer, guitarist and songwriter, John Fogerty. It was included on their 1970 album Cosmo’s Factory, the group’s fifth album. The song’s title and lyrics, as well as the year it was released (1970), have led many to assume that the song is about the Vietnam War. The fact that previous Creedence Clearwater Revival songs such as “Fortunate Son” were protests of the Vietnam War added to this belief.
However, in a 2016 interview, Fogerty explained that the song is actually about the proliferation of guns in the United States.