John Fogerty (born May 28, 1945 in Berkeley, California) is best known for his time with the southern rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival
. John and his brother, Tom Fogerty, formed the band in El Cerrito, California, in the late 1950s as Tommy Fogerty and The Blue Velvets
. The name was changed to The Golliwogs
in the mid 1960s, but the band remained unpopular.
By 1968, things were starting to pick up. The band released its first album as Creedence Clearwater Revival
, and also had their first hit single, “Suzie Q”. Other hit singles of Creedence Clearwater Revival
were “Fortunate Son”, “Up Around the Bend”, “Green River”, “Down on the Corner”, “Travelin’ Band”, “Lookin’ Out My Back Door”, “Bad Moon Rising”, and “Who’ll Stop the Rain”.
Tensions flared in 1971, causing John’s brother, Tom, to leave the band. John tried to hold the band together by letting the other band members have equal songwriting and singing time on the 1972 album Mardi Gras
; however, this turned out to be their last album. Fogerty bought himself out of his contract and officially left the band.
John Fogerty began a solo career, originally under the name The Blue Ridge Rangers
for his 1973 debut, on which he played all of the instruments and covered others’ hits, such as “Jambalaya” (which was a Top 40 hit). John Fogerty was released in 1975. Sales were slim and legal problems delayed a follow-up. Creedence Clearwater Revival's
former management filed suit against Fogerty, claiming that his new, solo compositions sounded too much like his former work as songwriter for Creedence
Fogerty’s solo career emerged in full force with 1985’s Centerfield
, which went to the top of the charts and included a Top Ten hit in “The Old Man Down the Road” and a title track frequently played on classic rock radio and at baseball games to this day. But that album was not without its legal snags either; two songs on the album, “Zanz Can’t Dance” and “Mr. Greed”, were believed to be attacks on Fogerty’s former boss at Fantasy Records, Saul Zaentz. When Zaentz responded with a lawsuit, Fogerty issued a revised version of “Zanz Can’t Dance” (changing the lead character’s name to Vanz). Another lawsuit claimed that “The Old Man Down the Road” shared the same chorus as “Run Through the Jungle” (a song from Fogerty’s days with Creedence
). Fogerty ultimately won his case when he proved that the two songs were whole, separate and distinct compositions. Bringing his guitar to the witness stand, he played excerpts from both songs, demonstrating that many songwriters (himself included) have distinctive styles that can make different compositions sound similar to less discerning ears.
The follow-up was Eye of the Zombie
in 1986, which was less successful. In 1993, his group, Creedence Clearwater Revival
, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
, but Fogerty refused to perform with his former bandmates, thus claiming his revenge against them for having sided with Fantasy Records in his disputes with the company. He retired until returning with 1997’s Blue Moon Swamp
He had a very successful tour in 1998 in the United States and Europe. He released a live album from that tour titled Premonition
In 2004 John Fogerty released Deja Vu
(All Over Again). Rolling Stone wrote: “The title track is Fogerty’s indictment of the Iraq war as another Vietnam, a senseless squandering of American lives and power”. On the album, Fogerty succinctly squeezed ten songs into only 34 minutes.
In October 2004 John Fogerty appeared on the “Vote for Change” tour, playing a series of concerts in American swing states. These concerts were organized by MoveOn.org
with the general goal of mobilizing people to vote for John Kerry and against George W. Bush in that year's Presidential campaign. Fogerty’s numbers were played with Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band.