John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival performed for the Las Vegas Raiders versus The Indianapolis Colts game that took place at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday November 13. The Grammy-award winning and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted music artist and songwriter brought hits including "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" and "Fortunate Son" to the stage. I caught up with Fogerty to dive deeper into his journey and history with music and the band.
Q: You wrote the majority of the albums and singles for Creedence Clearwater Revival? Can you share more about the band dynamic?
A: I had been writing songs since I was eight years old but it was always just a dream. Initially when the band was formed, we started in junior high and scattered to the wind at some point...of course my brother had been with me the whole time. By ’67 I thought I better get to it quickly because our dream was going to run out of funds probably by the end of the year.
We got back together in ’67 or ’66. Consorted effect around ’67 was that we were all going to write songs…it was just talk. Young bands kind of do this, there’s a sense of democracy and business rules. That was part of it.
When the actual work started, we would [begin] rehearsal and I would ask if we had anything. The other three would nervously stare at their feet. So I would say let's try this. I had something and the others didn’t. We fell into that routine.Baseball Hall of Fame music artist John Fogerty
Q: What is your experience like when songwriting and which of your songs stand out to you?
A: “Proud Mary” was my first great song; I had never written one before. That experience was life-changing and about a year later in June or July of ’68 “Suzie Q” was out and I was desperately trying to write follow-up pieces after “Suzie Q.” I knew it was really good, I knew it was a classic.
When I talk about it, it is still magical and mystical to me. I have written songs many years later when I don’t have that happening. I am more intrigued and deferential. I thank God I really do, or whatever you want to mention—the all mighty, the depth of the soul. That blew my mind.
During the Creedence era I had that happen to me many times, but I always felt that it had landed on me like I tuned my radio station to where it was going to come from. I felt the same way about “Fortunate Son.” I already wrote the music for it; I knew how the music went but I didn’t know what it was called.
We were rehearsing for maybe five weeks. We got it to be presentable and we were getting close to having this thing bloom. “You better write this song,” I said to myself. I went to my room with a legal pad and wrote it within 20 minutes.John Fogerty performs at All In Music Festival 2022
Q: What was your intention with “Fortunate Son” and your personal interpretation of that song?
A: First of all it is a very angry song at the unjustness and unfairness of the social system in America; at least that is my experience in America. In America we grew up with this dream that it is a democracy…I had seen another angle having been drafted and having served in the military.
Oliver Twist [by Charles Dickens conveys] a good dose of [the notion that] the lower class is not the same as the rich people. 1984 by George Orwell [depicted the concept that] everyone is created equal, but some are more equal than others. That’s kind of what Fortunate Son is about.
I was a young male of draftable age. It was a very unfair system watching senators and rich people get their sons deferred from the military or not going through the process…It made people my age very weary of how the government made these decisions.John Fogerty with his Bigsby guitar
You are talking about sending our young people to fight a war that none of us believed. We didn’t even know why, and still don’t know. I have a feeling that a lot of businessmen think, “Let’s start a war, it will make a lot of money.” Some will make a lot of money but not the kids that are fighting.
I was angry like most young people at the time. At the time of the war, the government was very secretive and things were a lot less transparent back in the day. Young people were very militant and dissatisfied. All of that changed so many lives and ended so many lives. I can be brought to tears when I am talking to someone who gets it from my same age group.
Summer 2020 was ignited by the murder of George Floyd and I was gratified to see how young people got mobilized. It wasn’t just black people who are obviously closer to that situation. My own daughter on her own made a sign with her friends and went to the courthouse in L.A. I had been curious for years, where are the young people to say something about these things.John Fogerty performs live
Fogerty rocked the halftime performance for the Las Vegas Raiders versus Indianapolis Colts game on November 13 but he has more to give. The music legend takes the stage at Wynn Las Vegas Encore Theater for his live performances on November 16, 18 and 19. Learn more and purchase tickets here.
Photography by: By Lee Cherry; By Myriam Santos; gettyimages.com/Scott Legato; Courtesy of PR Plus