John Cameron Fogerty (born May 28, 1945) is an American musician, singer, and songwriter. Together with Doug Clifford, Stu Cook, and his brother Tom Fogerty, he founded the band Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), for which he was the lead singer, lead guitarist, and principal songwriter. The group had nine top-10 singles and eight gold albums between 1968 and 1972, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
|Birth name||John Cameron Fogerty|
|Born||May 28, 1945|
Berkeley, California, U.S.
|Origin||El Cerrito, California, U.S.|
Since CCR parted ways in 1972, Fogerty has had a successful solo career, which continues. He was listed on Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Songwriters (at No. 40) and the list of 100 Greatest Singers (at No. 72). His songs include "Proud Mary", "Bad Moon Rising", "Fortunate Son", "Green River", "Down on the Corner", "Who'll Stop the Rain", "Centerfield" and "The Old Man Down the Road".
Fogerty was born in Berkeley, California, and grew up in El Cerrito, California, the third of five boys born to Galen Robert and Edith Lucile Fogerty. His father was born in Iowa, and worked as a Linotype operator for the Berkeley Gazette in California. Lucile Fogerty taught second grade and was from Great Falls, Montana. John first attended a Catholic school, the School of the Madeleine, in Berkeley, California. In his memoir, Fortunate Son, Fogerty was critical of the school, saying when in class he was not permitted to go to the bathroom when he asked, and frequently wet himself and was forced to sit in his wet clothing.
After one year, Fogerty enrolled in nearby Harding Grammar School. In his book, he stated that his parents were alcoholics and that they divorced when he was in the third or fourth grade. He later attended St. Mary's High School, then transferred to El Cerrito High School, where he met the other future members of CCR and took guitar lessons from Berkeley Folk Festival creator/producer Barry Olivier. Fogerty's older brother Tom was a guitarist and bandmate in the group that eventually became CCR. Fogerty spent summer vacations at Putah Creek, near Winters, California, which became the subject of the CCR song "Green River".
While in junior high school in 1959, Fogerty formed a cover band with bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford called the Blue Velvets. The band was inspired by rock and roll pioneers, especially Little Richard and Bo Diddley. Later, Fogerty's brother Tom joined the group. In 1964, the band signed with Fantasy Records, which without the band's knowledge or approval, changed the band's name from the Blue Velvets to The Golliwogs. This group recorded seven singles that were not commercially successful.
Fogerty received his draft notice for military service during the Vietnam War in 1966. The same day he received the notice, he went to a local United States Army Reserve recruiter, who signed him up immediately for training as a supply clerk. Fogerty believes the recruiter dated the paperwork to take effect before the draft letter arrived. During his time in the Army Reserve, Fogerty attended training at Fort Bragg, Fort Knox, and Fort Lee. He completed his active duty for training in July 1967, then served as a part-time reservist until being discharged in 1968.
Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968–1972)Edit
After Fogerty's military service, the Golliwogs resumed playing, releasing an album in late 1967. In 1968, they changed their name to Creedence Clearwater Revival, with John Fogerty taking his brother's place as lead singer. The band released their eponymous debut album and also had their first hit single, "Susie Q". Many other hit singles and albums followed, beginning with "Proud Mary" and the album Bayou Country.
Fogerty, as writer of the songs for the band as well as lead singer and lead guitarist, felt that his musical opinions should count for more than those of the others, leading to resentments within the band. These internal rifts, and Tom's feeling that he was being taken for granted, caused Tom to leave the group in January 1971. The two other group members, bassist Cook and drummer Clifford, wanted a greater role in the band's future. Fogerty, in an attempt to keep things together, insisted Cook and Clifford share equal songwriting and vocal time on what became the band's final album, Mardi Gras, released in April 1972, which included the band's last two singles, the 1971 hit "Sweet Hitch-Hiker", and "Someday Never Comes", which made it into the Billboard Top 20.
Cook and Clifford told Fogerty that the fans would not accept Mardi Gras as a CCR LP, but Fogerty told them, "My voice is a unique instrument, and I will not lend it to your songs." According to the two bandmates, Fogerty gave them an ultimatum: either they would do it or Fogerty would quit immediately.[failed verification] They accepted Fogerty's ultimatum. The album received poor reviews, but was a commercial success, peaking at number 12 and achieving gold-record status. It did, however, generate weaker sales than previous albums. The group disbanded shortly after the album was released.
The only reunion of all four original members was at Tom Fogerty's wedding in 1980. Fogerty, Clifford, and Cook played a 45-minute set at their 20th El Cerrito high school class reunion in 1983, and Fogerty and Clifford were reunited again for a brief set at their 25th class reunion.
Even early in his career, “Fogerty’s attitude toward music [was] serious, practiced, even perfectionistic. He drilled his bandmates in rehearsal after rehearsal, insisting that his songs be performed his way. …[He] was known for not indulging in drugs, and although John struggled with alcohol later in life he had only contempt for musicians whose habits interfered with their performances.”  “Not in my band,” he writes in his memoir, Fortunate Son. “You dare not be stoned playing music around me.... When you’re working, you’re supposed to be working.”
As CCR was coming to an end, Fogerty began working on a solo album of country and western covers, on which he produced, arranged, and played all of the instruments. Despite the solo nature of the recordings, however, Fogerty elected to credit the album to The Blue Ridge Rangers—a band of which he was the only member.
The eponymous The Blue Ridge Rangers was released in 1973; it spun off the top-20 hit "Jambalaya", as well as a lesser hit in "Hearts of Stone". Fogerty, still using "The Blue Ridge Rangers" name, then released a self-penned rock-and-roll single: "You Don't Owe Me" b/w "Back in the Hills" (Fantasy F-710). It was a commercial flop, failing to make the Hot 100 in the U.S., though "You Don't Owe Me" was a minor hit in Canada, reaching No. 79. Fogerty thereafter abandoned the "Blue Ridge Rangers" identity, and released all his subsequent work under his own name. In early 1974, Fogerty released "Comin' Down The Road"—backed with the instrumental "Ricochet".
His first official solo album, John Fogerty, was released in 1975. Sales were slim and legal problems delayed a follow-up, though it yielded "Rockin' All Over the World", a No. 27 hit for Fogerty in the United States. In 1977, British boogie rockers Status Quo recorded their version of "Rockin' All Over the World", which became a huge hit and made the song world-famous. Status Quo played it at the opening of the 1985 Live Aid concert.
In 1976, Fogerty finished an album called Hoodoo. A single, "You Got the Magic" backed with "Evil Thing", preceded the album's release, but it performed poorly. The album, for which covers had already been printed, was rejected by Asylum Records a few weeks before its scheduled release, and Fogerty agreed that it was not up to his usual high standards. Fogerty told Asylum Records to destroy the master tapes for Hoodoo sometime in the 1980s.
After a hiatus of several years from the music industry, Fogerty's solo career re-emerged with 1985's Centerfield, his first album for Warner Bros. Records, which had taken co-ownership of Asylum's contract with Fogerty. Centerfield went to the top of the charts and included a top-10 hit in "The Old Man Down the Road". The title track is frequently played on classic rock radio and at baseball games to this day, but the album led to legal problems for Fogerty.
Two songs on the album, "Zanz Kant Danz" and "Mr. Greed", were believed to be attacks on Fogerty's former boss at Fantasy Records, Saul Zaentz. "Zanz Kant Danz" was about a pig that cannot dance, but would "steal your money". When Zaentz responded with a lawsuit, Fogerty issued a revised version: "Vanz Kant Danz" (changing the lead character's name to Vanz). Another lawsuit (Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty) claimed that "The Old Man Down the Road" shared the same chorus as "Run Through the Jungle", a song from Fogerty's days with CCR to which Fantasy Records still owned the publishing rights. Fogerty ultimately won his case when he proved that the two songs were distinct compositions and also that sounding like himself was not plagiarizing. Fogerty then countersued for attorney fees (Fogerty v. Fantasy). After losing in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Fogerty won his case in the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that a trial court has discretion in awarding fees to defendants or plaintiffs.
On May 31, 1985, Fogerty filmed a one-hour music and interview special for Showtime called John Fogerty's All-Stars. The setlist consisted of rhythm and blues tunes from the 1960s, as well as material from the Centerfield LP and the song "No Love in You" written by Michael Anderson, which Fogerty found on the Textones' debut album Midnight Mission and he later recorded with Textones' band leader Carla Olson. John Fogerty's All-Stars was recorded in front of an audience of Warners Bros. Music employees and other invited guests at A&M Records on La Brea in Hollywood. The band included Albert Lee, Booker T. Jones, Duck Dunn, Steve Douglas, and Prairie Prince.
The follow-up album to Centerfield was Eye of the Zombie in 1986, but it was significantly less successful than its predecessor. Fogerty toured behind the album, but he refused to play any CCR material. Eye of the Zombie took on a darker mood, talking about a troubled society, terrorism, and pop stars selling out. For over 20 years after the Eye of the Zombie tour ended in late 1986, Fogerty refused to play material from the album in concert. However, "Change in the Weather" was included in the setlist for his 2009 tour, and it was even re-recorded for that year's solo release, The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again.
Fogerty played CCR material again at a concert in Washington, D.C., for Vietnam veterans that took place on July 4, 1987. The show was aired on HBO. Aside from a guest appearance at the Palomino and performance at the 1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, this was the first time Fogerty had performed any Creedence Clearwater Revival songs for a large audience since 1972. On May 27, 1989, he played a set of CCR material at Oakland Coliseum for the Concert Against AIDS. His backing band that night consisted of Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir on guitars, Randy Jackson on bass, and Steve Jordan on drums.
In 1990, Tom Fogerty died of complications from AIDS at the age of 48, specifically from a tuberculosis infection, having contracted HIV from blood transfusions during surgery for a back ailment. John Fogerty has mentioned that the darkest moments in his life were when his brother took the record company's side in their royalties dispute, and the fact that when his brother died, the two of them were barely speaking to each other. In fact, even in the brothers' very last conversation with each other, Tom at one point referred to Creedence Clearwater Revival's former manager Saul Zaentz as his "best friend". Given that Zaentz had swindled the band out of millions of dollars and had just recently attempted to sue John, this revelation made it painfully difficult for John to reconcile with Tom. In the eulogy he delivered at Tom's funeral, he said: "We wanted to grow up and be musicians. I guess we achieved half of that, becoming rock 'n roll stars. We didn't necessarily grow up."
Fogerty traveled to Mississippi in 1990 for inspiration, and visited the gravesite of blues legend Robert Johnson. According to him, while there, he had the realization that Robert Johnson was the true spiritual owner of his own songs, no matter what businessman owned the rights to them, thus Fogerty decided to start making a new album and to perform his old CCR material regularly in concert. At this time, visiting the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church cemetery, Fogerty met Skip Henderson, a New Jersey vintage guitar dealer who had formed a nonprofit corporation, the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund, to honor Johnson with a memorial marker. Fogerty subsequently funded headstones for Charlie Patton, James Son Thomas, Mississippi Joe Callicott, Eugene Powell, and Lonnie Pitchford, and helped with financial arrangements for numerous others.
Creedence Clearwater Revival was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Fogerty refused to perform with his former bandmates and fellow inductees Stu Cook and Doug Clifford during the musical portion of the induction ceremony. In place of the surviving members of CCR, Fogerty recruited session musicians on drums and bass and was also joined by Bruce Springsteen and Robbie Robertson in performing three songs: "Who'll Stop the Rain", "Born on the Bayou", and "Green River". During the induction speech, Springsteen said, "As a songwriter, only a few did as much in three minutes [as John Fogerty]. He was an Old Testament, shaggy-haired prophet, a fatalist. Funny, too. He was severe, he was precise, he said what he had to say and he got out of there."
Fogerty returned to the commercial music industry in 1997 with Blue Moon Swamp. The layoff between Zombie and Swamp had been longer than his mid-1970s to mid-1980s break. The album was much more successful than Zombie and won the Grammy for best rock album in 1997. A live album, named Premonition, of the equally successful Blue Moon Swamp tour, was released to similar acclaim and good sales in 1998. A track from Blue Moon Swamp titled "Blue Moon Nights," was used in the 2002 film The Rookie.
In 2004, Fogerty released Deja Vu All Over Again through DreamWorks Records, which had taken over distribution of Fogerty's Warner catalog. 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 squeezed ten songs into only 34 minutes.
The sale of Fantasy Records to Concord Records in 2004 ended the 30-year estrangement between Fogerty and his former label, as the new owners took steps to restore royalty rights Fogerty had given up to be released from his contract with Fantasy in the mid-1970s. In September 2005, Fogerty returned to Fantasy Records, made possible when DreamWorks Records' noncountry-music unit was absorbed by Geffen Records, which dropped Fogerty, but continued to distribute his earlier solo albums. The first album released under the new Fantasy contract was The Long Road Home (November 2005), a compilation CD combining his CCR hits with solo material. A live CD and concert DVD were released the following year.
Fogerty's touring schedule increased in the period after Deja Vu All Over Again. In October 2004, Fogerty appeared on the Vote for Change tour, playing seven of the concerts in U.S. swing states. He also appeared in a Christmas special video produced by the Australian children's group The Wiggles. Fogerty toured with John Mellencamp in the summer of 2005 and with Willie Nelson in the summer of 2006. On June 29, 2006, he played his first headlining British concert since 1972, at the Hammersmith Apollo theater in London, as part of the European leg of the tour. During that leg, he also performed in Sundsvall, Sweden, where 25,000 people came to see him perform at the town square. On Thanksgiving Day of 2006, Fogerty performed at halftime at the Miami Dolphins/Detroit Lions game and at the Denver Broncos/Kansas City Chiefs halftime later that evening.
Fogerty was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005.
On June 23, 2007, Fogerty appeared at Glastonbury Festival, playing an hour-long set of 17 songs, mainly CCR classics. Introducing "Who'll Stop the Rain", Fogerty said he did not perform it at Woodstock as rumored, but wrote the song inspired by the event.
Revival was released October 2, 2007. Heavily promoted by the label, Revival debuted at No. 14 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart with sales about 65,000 copies in its first week. Revival was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album of 2008, but lost to the Foo Fighters.
On February 10, 2008, Fogerty appeared with Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard on the Grammy Awards show. Along with these rock icons and his regular touring band, he played his 1973 single "Comin' Down The Road", leading into Lewis and Richard's performances of "Great Balls of Fire" and "Good Golly Miss Molly", respectively.
On March 16, 2008, Fogerty kicked off an Australian tour. On March 22 in Point Nepean, Australia, surprise guest Keith Urban joined Fogerty on stage, performing two songs: "Broken Down Cowboy", off Fogerty's newest album Revival, and "Cotton Fields", from CCR's album Willy & the Poor Boys.
On June 24, 2008, Fogerty made a return to the Royal Albert Hall, a venue he last played with CCR in 1971. It was the last concert on his 2008 European tour. This concert was filmed (causing staging problems that annoyed some fans) and was released in 2009.
On July 2, 3, and 4, 2009, Fogerty performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, which was sold out for these shows. Though billed as Fogerty with the L.A. Philharmonic, the orchestra began the night with music by U.S. composers, and Fogerty and his band came on after intermission, playing only three songs with the orchestra.
On August 31, 2009, Fogerty released The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again, a sequel 1973 solo debut The Blue Ridge Rangers. The album includes a duet with Bruce Springsteen on the 1960 Everly Brothers classic "When Will I Be Loved?". In addition, Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit of Eagles sang with Fogerty on a cover of Ricky Nelson's 1972 classic "Garden Party". The album was the first issued on Fogerty's own label Fortunate Son Records, which is distributed by the Verve Forecast Records unit of Universal Music Group and also handles the Fogerty/CCR Fantasy catalogue.
On October 29, 2009, Fogerty appeared at Madison Square Garden for the first night of the celebratory 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts. Bruce Springsteen, with the E Street Band, called Fogerty out to play three songs with them. "Fortunate Son" was their first song, followed by "Proud Mary", and finally the duo tried their take on Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman". The show aired as a four-hour special on HBO on November 29, 2009.
On November 3, 2009, Fogerty released the Royal Albert Hall DVD entitled Comin' Down The Road, named after his 1973 single, which he performed at this concert. Fogerty was also nominated for a Grammy Award at the 2010 Grammys. He was nominated for the Best Rock Solo Vocal Performance Grammy for the song "Change in the Weather", which he recorded for The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again.
For his songwriting achievements, Fogerty was honored as a Broadcast Music Incorporated Icon at the 58th annual BMI Pop Awards on May 18, 2010. BMI Icons are selected because of their "unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers."
Fogerty began recording Wrote a Song for Everyone in 2011, which was released on Vanguard Records on May 28, 2013, his 68th birthday. The album is a collection of classics and tracks from his canon of hits performed with other artists. The album includes two new Fogerty-penned songs. On November 17, 2011, Fogerty performed on the Late Show with David Letterman. On November 17 and 18, Fogerty performed two CCR albums, Cosmo's Factory and Green River, respectively, in their entirety at the Beacon Theater in New York City (he also played Cosmo's Factory in Atlantic City on November 20). He was also featured on the CBS coverage of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, performing several prerecorded songs.
In January 2012, Fogerty's new song "Swamp Water" debuted over the opening credits of the new Fox TV series The Finder. Fogerty wrote the song for the show and guest-starred in its debut episode. On November 12, 2012, Fogerty announced that he was writing his memoirs, and that the book was expected to be released in 2015.
During the 2014 Veterans Days celebration, "Salute to the Troops" at the White House, Fogerty performed for many veterans.
On February 21, 2015, he was a featured artist for the National Hockey League stadium series game between the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
In October 2015, Fogerty published his autobiography, Fortunate Son (Little, Brown & Co.).
In November 2019, Fogerty appeared on Public Broadcasting Station pledge week with "John Fogerty: My 50 Year Trip", a taped performance from Red Rocks Amphitheater, Colorado. His most recent performance was at the Winstar in Thackerville, Oklahoma, on December 31, 2019. The remaining performances of his current tour "My 50 Year Trip" have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While on lockdown during the pandemic in early 2020, Fogerty, accompanied by sons Shane and Tyler and daughter Kelsy, began releasing performance videos of previously released originals and covers. Under the brand "Fogerty's Factory," the group performed remotely on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts, and SiriusXM's Classic Vinyl station. Collecting seven songs from the remote performances, the Fogerty's Factory EP was released on May 28, 2020, coinciding with Fogerty's 75th birthday. A 12-track album edition featuring additional lockdown performances followed on November 20.
Fogerty performed backing vocals on "Scream and Shout," a single by his sons' band Hearty Har, released October 19, 2020.
Performers at the June 2019 Red Rocks Amphitheater show were:
- John Fogerty - vocals, guitar, harmonica
- Shane Fogerty - guitar, vocals
- Tyler Fogerty - vocals
- Kenny Aronoff - drums
- Bob Malone - keyboard
- James Lomenzo - bass (left in 2021)
- Nate Collins - saxophone
- Julian Dresler - trumpet
- Adam Miller - trombone
- Trysette Loosemore - back-up vocals
- Lavone LB Seetal - back-up vocals
Fogerty married Martha Paiz in 1965 and had three children. They divorced in the 1970s.
Fogerty met Julie Kramer in 1986 while on tour in Indianapolis, Indiana. They married in Elkhart, Indiana, on April 20, 1991, and had two sons (Shane and Tyler) and a daughter (Kelsy). Kramer had a daughter, Lyndsay, from a previous marriage. As of 2020[update], they live in Thousand Oaks, California.
Fogerty is a lifelong liberal Democrat. In his lyrics, Fogerty has lampooned many Republicans, including Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Fogerty participated in the Vote for Change tour in support of John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid against George W. Bush. In 2015, Fogerty threw his support behind Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, saying, "[L]iberals tend to have the little guy in mind." However, he also expressed a liking for Donald Trump's "rebelliousness" and the appearance that Trump "can't be bought" due to his vast wealth.
Despite his personal views, Fogerty has attracted high-profile conservative fans, including Bush, Donald Trump, and Rush Limbaugh. Trump frequently used "Fortunate Son" during his 2020 reelection campaign, prompting Fogerty to issue a cease-and-desist letter. During an episode of his radio show, Limbaugh expressed his love of Fogerty's music, saying:
I love Creedence. I love Fogerty. He probably hates me. But I love John Fogerty. I just loved them. The talent they had. They were on one of those two- or three-year rolls where their creativity was limitless. It knew no bounds.
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