John Fogerty

Origin: Berkeley, California

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Genres: country rock, Rock, Roots Rock

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John Fogerty 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 achieved nine top ten singles and eight gold albums before disbanding in 1972.  Creedence was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1983.  John Fogerty ranked number 40 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of Greatest Guitarists while charting number 72 on its Greatest Singers list. Upon CCR’s dissolution Fogerty began a successful solo career.

Fogerty was born in Berkeley, California and grew up in El Cerrito, California.  Fogerty first met future CCR members Clifford and Cook when they attended El Cerrito High School.  It was there that they formed a cover band the Blue Velvets with Cook on bass and Clifford on drums. The band drew its inspiration from rock and roll pioneers Little Richard and Bo Diddley.  Signed to Fantasy Records in 1964 the group recorded seven singles but were commercially unsuccessful.  In addition without the band’s knowledge or approval a record executive with Fantasy changed their name to the Golliwogs.

By 1967 the Golliwogs changed their name to Creedence Clearwater Revival and Fogerty took his brother’s place as the band’s lead singer.  By 1968 CCR released their eponymous debut album and had their first hit single, “Susie Q.”  Numerous other hit singles and albums followed beginning with “Proud Mary” and the album Bayou Country.

As chief songwriter, lead singer and lead guitarist Fogerty felt that his musical opinions should hold the most sway within the band.  This idea rankled the other band members causing Tom Fogerty to leave the band in 1971.  CCR’s remaining two members Clifford and Cook also wanted a greater say in the band’s future.  In an attempt to keep the band together Fogerty insisted that Clifford and Cook share equal songwriting and lead vocals on their next album 1972’s Mardi Gras.  With Clifford and Cook sharing songwriting and lead vocals the album received poor reviews and generated weaker sales than previous albums.  The group disbanded shortly afterwards.

After CCR’ s end Fogerty began working on a solo album of country and western covers on which he produced, arranged, and played all 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 spinning off two hits “Jambalaya'” and “Heart of Stone.”  Fogerty’s first official solo album, John Fogerty was released in 1975 to meager sales although it yielded the hit “Rockin All Over the World,” which later became a huge hit for British boogie rockers Status Quo.

After a hiatus of several years from the music industry, Fogerty’s solo career blossomed in a big way with the release of his 1985 album Centerfield.  The album topped the charts and spawned the top ten hit “Old Man Down the Road.”  The album’s title track is a mainstay on rock radio and regularly played at baseball games.  The album also led to legal problems for Fogerty.

Two of the album’s songs “Zanz Can’t Dance” and “Mr. Greed” were perceived  attacks on Fogerty’s former boss at Fantasy records.  In response to a lawsuit Fogerty issued a revised version of the songs.  Another lawsuit claimed that “The Old Man Down The Road” shared a chorus with the CCR song “Run Through the Jungle,” which Fantasy Records still owned the publishing rights to.  Fogerty eventually won his case in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Fogerty’s follow up album 1986’s Eye of the Zombie was considerably less successful than its predecessor Centerfield with its darker mood about a troubled society, terrorism, and pop stars selling out.  Fogerty toured behind the album but refused to play any CCR material.  After the tour ended Fogerty refused to play songs from the album in concert.  However, “Change in the Weather” was included in the set list for his 2009 tour, and it was even re-recorded for that year’s solo release, The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again.

Finally on July 4, 1987 Fogerty played CCR songs at a concert in Washington, D.C. honoring Vietnam Veterans.  Aside from some brief appearances this was the first time that Fogerty had played CCR songs since 1972.

In 1990 Fogerty traveled to Mississippi for inspiration visiting the graveside of blues legend Robert Johnson.  This journey propelled Fogerty to start making a new album and perform his CCR songs in concert regularly.

At Creedence Clearwater Revival 1983 induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Fogerty refused to perform with his former band mates and fellow inductees Stu Cook and Doug Clifford during the musical portion of the induction ceremony.   Instead, Fogerty recruited session musicians on drums and bass and was joined by Bruce Springsteen and Robbie Robertson in performing three songs; “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” “Born on the Bayou,” and “Green River.”

Fogerty once again tasted commercial success with his 1997 album Blue Moon Swamp.  The album received a Grammy for Best Rock Album in 1997.  A live album, Premonition from the equally successful Blue Moon Swamp tour was released to similar acclaim and sales.

The 2004 sale of Fantasy Records to Concord records ended a 30-year estrangement between Fogerty and his former label as the new owners took steps to restore royalty rights Fogerty had relinquished upon receiving his release from his Fantasy Records contract.  Fogerty then resigned with Fantasy releasing a compilation of his CCR and solo songs on The Long Road Home.  A live CD and concert DVD were released the following year.

In the ensuing years Fogerty’s touring schedule has increased substantially from tours with John Mellencamp in 2005 to Willie Nelson in 2006 to periodic residencies in Las Vegas and New York .

In 2007 Fogerty released Revival.  The heavily promoted album debuted top twenty on the Billboard charts and received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Album of 2008.

In 2009, Fogerty released The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again, a sequel to his 1973 solo debut The Blue Ridge Rangers.  The album includes duets with Bruce Springsteen, and Eagles Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit.  Fogerty received a  Grammy nomination for Best Rock Solo Vocal Performance for the song “Change in the Weather” from the album.

Fogerty has also begun performing CCR albums in full.  At New York’s Beacon Theater he performed two CCR albums, Cosmos Factory and Green River.

For his songwriting achievements, Fogerty was honored in 2009 by the American Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting and in 2010 as a Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) Icon at the 58th annual BMI Pop Awards.  BMI Icons are selected for their  “unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.”

Reference –

John Fogerty discography

The Blue Ridge Rangers (1973)

John Fogerty (1975)

Centerfield (1985)

Eye of the Zombie (1986)

Blue Moon Swamp (1997)

Deja Vu All Over Again (2004)

Revival (2007)

The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again (2009)

Wrote a Song for Everyone (2013)

Sacramento’s K-ZAP 93.3 FM plays John Fogerty.  All part of 50 years of Rock, Blues and More, 24-7 on our station’s stream at K-ZAP.ORG/LISTEN/