Fogerty performing in Lucca, Italy, July 2009
|John Cameron Fogerty|
May 28, 1946 |
Berkeley, California, U.S.
John Cameron Fogerty (born May 28, 1946) is an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He was the lead singer, lead guitarist and principal songwriter, along with his brother Tom, and Doug Clifford were the co-founders of the band Creedence Clearwater Revival. The group had nine top-ten singles and eight gold albums between 1968 and 1972. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
After CCR parted ways in 1972 Fogerty had a successful solo career. He was listed on Rolling Stone magazine's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists (at number 40) and the list of 100 Greatest Singers (at number 72). His songs include "Proud Mary", "Down on the Corner", "Bad Moon Rising", "Green River", and "Fortunate Son".
Fogerty was born in Berkeley, California, and grew up in El Cerrito, California, one of five sons born to Galen Robert and Edith Lucile Fogerty. His father, Galen Fogerty, was a native of South Dakota and worked as a Linotype operator for the Berkeley Gazette. Lucile Fogerty was from Great Falls, Montana. When John was two years old his parents both converted to Catholicism. He first attended a Catholic school in Berkeley named the "School of the Madeleine". In his memoir, Fortunate Son, Fogerty was critical of the school, saying he was not permitted to go to the bathroom when he asked and frequently wet himself in the classroom and was forced to sit in his wet clothing.
After one year, he was enrolled in nearby Harding Grammar School. In Fogerty's book, he stated that both 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 had an older brother, Tom, who was a guitarist and bandmate in the group that became CCR. John Fogerty spent summer vacations at Putah Creek, near Winters, California, which became the subject of the Creedence Clearwater Revival 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 was signed to Fantasy Records. A record executive for the record company, without the band's knowledge or approval, changed the band's name from the "Blue Velvets" to the "Golliwogs". The group recorded seven singles that were not commercially successful.
Fogerty received his draft notice for military service during the Vietnam War in 1966, but that same day he went to a local Army reserve recruiter who signed him up immediately. Fogerty was grateful, and believed the recruiter pre-dated the paperwork to take effect before the draft letter arrived. He served at Fort Bragg, Fort Knox, and Fort Lee, and was discharged from the Army in July 1967. In the same year, the band changed its name to Creedence Clearwater Revival. At this time, he took his brother's place as lead singer for the band. By 1968, things started to pick up for the band. 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 Stu Cook and drummer Doug 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 barely 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 he said, "My voice is a unique instrument, and I will not lend it to your songs." He gave them an ultimatum: either they would do it or he would quit immediately. They accepted his ultimatum, but the album received poor reviews. It was a commercial success, however, peaking at #12 and achieving gold record status. It generated weaker sales than their previous albums. The group disbanded shortly afterwards. The only reunion of all four original members was at Tom Fogerty's wedding in 1980. Fogerty, Doug and Stu played a 45-minute set at their 20th class reunion in 1983, and Fogerty and Doug were reunited again for a brief set at their 25th class reunion
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As CCR was coming to an end, Fogerty began working on a solo album of country & 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 "group" released The Blue Ridge Rangers, its only album, in 1973; it spun off the Top 20 hit "Jambalaya", as well as a lesser hit in "Heart Of Stone". Fogerty, still using "The Blue Ridge Rangers" name, then released a self-penned rock & 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. 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 second solo album, John Fogerty, was released in 1975. Sales were slim and legal problems delayed a followup, though it yielded "Rockin' All Over the World", a #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 couple of 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.
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After a multi-year hiatus from the music industry, Fogerty's solo career re-emerged with 1985's Centerfield, his first album for Warner Bros. Records (which took over co-ownership of Asylum's contract with Fogerty). Centerfield went to the top of the charts and included a top-ten 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 that album was not without its legal snags.
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 who can't 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 Creedence to which Fantasy Records had owned the publishing rights). Fogerty ultimately won his case when he proved that the two songs were wholly distinct compositions. 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 set list consisted of R&B 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 Brothers Music employees and other invited guests at A&M Record on La Brea in Hollywood, CA. The band included Albert Lee, Booker T. Jones, Duck Dunn, Steve Douglas and Prairie Prince amongst others.
The follow-up album to Centerfield was Eye of the Zombie in 1986, and it was significantly less successful than its predecessor. Fogerty toured behind the album, but he refused to play any Creedence 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 set list for his 2009 tour, and it was even re-recorded for that year's solo release, The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again.
Fogerty played Creedence 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 AIDS (specifically from a tuberculosis infection) at the age of 48, having contracted HIV from blood transfusions for back ailments. 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 not speaking to each other. 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, and thus Fogerty decided to start making a new album and to perform his old Creedence material regularly in concert. It was at this time visiting the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church cemetery that 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, 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.
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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 10 songs into only 34 minutes.
The sale of Fantasy Records to Concord Records in 2004 ended the thirty-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' non-country-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 Creedence 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 as well as 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 rumoured, but wrote the song inspired by the event.
Revival was released October 2, 2007. Heavily promoted by the label, Revival debuted at number 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 ultra-rare[according to whom?] 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 completely sold out for these shows. Though billed as Fogerty with the LA Philharmonic, the orchestra began the night with music by US 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 The Eagles sing 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 (UMG), which 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 BMI 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 also includes two brand-new Fogerty-penned songs. On November 17, 2011 John Fogerty performed on the Late Show with David Letterman. On November 17 and 18, Fogerty performed two Creedence Clearwater Revival 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 specifically 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.
Fogerty married Martha Paiz in 1965. They had three children before divorcing in the 1970s. He met Julie Kramer in 1986 while on tour in Indianapolis, Indiana, and they married in Elkhart, Indiana, on April 20, 1991. The wedding ceremony was conducted by Rev. Philip Morgan. Kramer had a daughter from a previous marriage. Fogerty and Julie have two sons and a daughter. As of 2009 , they live in Beverly Hills, California.