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FOGERRRRRRTYYYYY!!!
May 27, 2007 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Happy Birthday John Fogerty! Swamp rock progenitor, Vietnam and Iraq War opposer, 40th greatest guitarist of all time, and performer at Woodstock, John Fogerty turns 62 tomorrow. Prolific singer, guitarist and composer extraordinaire with Creedence Clearwater Revival on such hits as Have you Ever Seen the Rain?, Who’ll Stop the Rain?, Bad Moon Rising/Proud Mary, Born on the Bayou, Green River, Travellin’ Band, Whitfield and Strong's Motown classic I Heard it Through the Grapevine, Susie Q, and last but not least, Fortunate Son, a song whose message has again become so timely, more than a handful of prominent musicians have covered it over the few years, including Pearl Jam, Sleater-Kinney, the Circle Jerks, Bob Seger, Sublime, Ivan Neville, Brandi Carlile and .38 Special. As a solo artist, Fogerty also penned such hits as Centerfield, a song purported to be one of George W. Bush's favorites (to Fogerty's apparent amusement), and The Old Man Down the Road.
posted by psmealey (75 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Miss L is going to be pissed.
posted by drezdn at 12:21 PM on May 27, 2007


Once again I issue forth the $50,000 Fogerty Challenge: anybody who can write a more boring rock and roll song than John Fogerty gets a check for $50,000. Good luck, contestants!

Nice post though.
posted by baphomet at 12:32 PM on May 27, 2007


baphomet, Pearl Jam was already listed in the post. I hope you have your checkbook out.
posted by The World Famous at 12:35 PM on May 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

@^%#*&$#@$%^*$#& bastard keeps on livin'!??? Damn.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:37 PM on May 27, 2007


Least you could've done would've been to have accidentally said it was Don Henley's birthday. Just for me.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:37 PM on May 27, 2007


Ok, now that I have your attention, you have to tell us your Fogerty story, Miss L.
posted by psmealey at 12:38 PM on May 27, 2007


John Fogerty turns 62 tomorrow.

This couldn't wait, huh?
posted by dhammond at 12:42 PM on May 27, 2007


nope. needed proper time to prepare.
posted by psmealey at 12:43 PM on May 27, 2007


People go on and on about the Haight-Ashbury, and it indeed had it's moments, but along with Sly & The Family Stone, Creedence was the best best band the Bay Area 1960's produced.

(IMHO, YMMV, and all that horseshit)
posted by jonmc at 12:44 PM on May 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I shall hereby direct you to the previous telling. Just thinking of that nasty little rodent in red fringe causes me to throw up in my mouth a little.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:45 PM on May 27, 2007


I would have put him as 39th best guitarist in the world.
posted by Postroad at 12:51 PM on May 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I would like to politely ask the admins if there is any way that I can express so much disfavor with the topic of a post as to unfavorite all favorites displayed by others? Because if so, I'd like to use that special power right now. I believe it's for the greater good of Metafilter.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:51 PM on May 27, 2007


Creedence is one of the few 60's bands I still like to listen to (and have on my iPod). I'd believe Fogerty is 40th best guitarist, but if you factor in that he was capable of playing any of the instruments in the band (like he did on Blue Ridge Rangers), he should be placed somewhat higher.
posted by tommasz at 1:00 PM on May 27, 2007


Happy birthday
posted by acro at 1:10 PM on May 27, 2007


I'd love to see Fogerty show up and comment in this thread. Please please please please please.
posted by maxwelton at 1:12 PM on May 27, 2007


Why? Because it's tomorrow!
posted by acro at 1:15 PM on May 27, 2007


Me too. Dude's apology is totally overdue.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:15 PM on May 27, 2007


Wouldn't hold out much hope for the tape deck though.
Older Cop: Or the Creedence.
posted by porn in the woods at 1:18 PM on May 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


Creedence's first album was amongst a handful of albums that I learned to play the bass to, along with Cream's Wheels of Fire, & Led Zeppelin I. While I kinda grew tired of them by the late seventies (could the drummer have not bought ONE more crash cymbal?) I'll always love their version of I Put a Spell on You, & Born on the Bayou.

I've probably made at least one car payment covering Green River, so I suppose I owe Fogerty a big thanks for that, too. Thanks, John!
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:25 PM on May 27, 2007


Is this where I get all poli-music snob and sniff that Effigy blows Fortunate Sun out of the freaking water and makes your heart ache with its sheer beauty at the same time?

'Cuz that's how it's looking to me.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:26 PM on May 27, 2007


I shall hereby direct you to the previous telling. Just thinking of that nasty little rodent in red fringe causes me to throw up in my mouth a little.

You can tell that one again and again, and if I'm in the room, I promise to always laugh like it's the first time I've heard it. Classic.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:31 PM on May 27, 2007


I don't know what the man did to our Miss Lynnster (I'm about to go find out) but I have long thought he was one of the great bad-asses of the world. Surely people remember Zanz Can't Dance about Saul Zaentz, who sued John Fogarty for -- wait for it -- plagiarizing his own songs, the rights to which were held by Zaentz? He played the songs in question -- Run Through the Jungle and the Old Man Down the Road -- on guitar on the witness stand. He won -- I'd like to say "OF COURSE" but, you know.
posted by Methylviolet at 1:39 PM on May 27, 2007


psmealey, Great post and happy pre-birthday to John Fogerty. What a good-looking guy, seriously sexy. He wrote wonderful songs, love his music. It does all the right things to my brain, his music makes me feel full of life and energy.

As the years have gone by I've enjoyed Fogerty's music in movies.

A culture heroine and inspiration, Tina Turner does Fogerty's Proud Mary, younger and very naughty, older and still sizzling.

misslynnster, got a good laugh reading your Fogerty-being-narcissistically-entitled story. Pity, guess either the star was already that way on the way up or became situationally narcissistic.
posted by nickyskye at 1:40 PM on May 27, 2007


If by situationally narcissistic you mean that he's a jerk, yeah I'm with you. Personally, the only thing I could see that was bad about his flabby old ass was that it likes to sit on other people's stools. As usual, YMMV of course.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:17 PM on May 27, 2007


People go on and on about the Haight-Ashbury, and it indeed had it's moments, but along with Sly & The Family Stone, Creedence was the best best band the Bay Area 1960's produced.

Amen. When I was in college and the cool kids were into the Doors and the Dead, I unregenerately loved Creedence. God damn, that's some great rock and roll. (And I never loved The Minutemen more than when they covered "Have you ever seen the rain?" one sweaty night in Hoboken.)

Thanks for the post, and happy birthday, John, you cranky genius you!
posted by languagehat at 2:26 PM on May 27, 2007


El Cerrito represent!

miss l, that story is worth a million favorites
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:30 PM on May 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Amen. When I was in college and the cool kids were into the Doors and the Dead, I unregenerately loved Creedence. God damn, that's some great rock and roll.

(and Jerry Garcia would probably be the first to admit it, bless his stoned heart) Like I said, both the Doors and the Dead had their moments to be sure, but they never had anything approaching Fogerty's songwriting ability or the band's muscualar sound and sense of song structure.

(and psmealy, this is a great post but I must quibble with 'swamp rock prgenotor.' Fogerty was from San Francisco and had never been near the Bayou, and guys like Tony Joe White, et al had been doing the swampy sound for a while, but Fogety's songwirting bested him, I'll admit)
posted by jonmc at 2:32 PM on May 27, 2007


.
posted by Sailormom at 2:39 PM on May 27, 2007


Just watched "Travelin' Band": one minute and forty-six seconds of primal rock, as tight, mean, and compressed as anything the Ramones did, or the Beatles in Hamburg either. God damn, that's some great rock and roll.
posted by languagehat at 2:46 PM on May 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


CCR - Tombstone shadow
posted by acro at 2:54 PM on May 27, 2007


To pick up on languagehat's comment, I vaguely recall Keith Richards comparing songwriting in the early '60s to songwriting in the late '60s, saying how much harder it was to write a song that got it done in 3 minutes for AM play. Fortunate Son, two minutes, 21 seconds. Don't Look Now, (not an AM hit, but a powerful mix of anger and sadness and a fine piece of songwriting), two minutes, 11 seconds.

When I was in high school I loved the Dead and CCR, but I don't see much point in comparing them -- 'Rock band' and "bay area' are pretty broad categories. Sly and Fogerty were from the east bay, and a big part of what their music was about was just how wide that bay seemed to be.
posted by Killick at 2:56 PM on May 27, 2007


CCR Have you ever seen the rain on ukulele
posted by acro at 2:58 PM on May 27, 2007


Hm, don't know how I missed that the first time around, but that's a great story, Miss L. It sucks when famous people act like assholes, but, hey, at least you got rock starred by a real rock star. Friends of mine working the club scene in Seattle in the 90s received similar attitude from the dickheads in Candlebox and a young Tom Petty clone named Pete Droge. They really should have been nicer on the way up, because they didn't get very far.
posted by psmealey at 3:17 PM on May 27, 2007


Once again I issue forth the $50,000 Fogerty Challenge: anybody who can write a more boring rock and roll song than John Fogerty gets a check for $50,000. Good luck, contestants!

Too bad Kurt Cobain's not around anymore, or he'd sweep this.

Seriously, you think Fogerty writes boring rock songs?
posted by jbickers at 3:34 PM on May 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Btw, I had no idea who Brandi Carlile was before structuring this post, but she sure as hell can sing.
posted by psmealey at 3:44 PM on May 27, 2007


For every "Playin' in a Traveling Band" there's a "Centerfield."

That's life, bitches.
posted by bardic at 3:59 PM on May 27, 2007


Lordy. Are people still talking about that crusty old rocker dude? Isn't he dead yet?
posted by miss lynnster at 4:13 PM on May 27, 2007


Lordy. Are people still talking about that crusty old rocker dude?

crusty old rocker dudes rule!
posted by jonmc at 4:29 PM on May 27, 2007


For every "Playin' in a Traveling Band" there's a "Centerfield."

Oh, he's written a clunker or two. Let's write him off.

(his ratio of great songs to bad ones is pretty good, which is more than you can say for most artists, so I'm disinclined to break his balls)
posted by jonmc at 4:33 PM on May 27, 2007


Are people still talking about that crusty old rocker dude?

What, he's got that hand-growth thing goin' on too?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:36 PM on May 27, 2007


anybody who can write a more boring rock and roll song than John Fogerty

While that's fairly representative of my opinion of most of the bands from that scene/era, you have to be a seriously jaded/post modern dude to call tunes like "Up Around the Bend", "Green River", "Hey Tonight", "Fortunate Son", etc boring. Even by today's standards. Hell, especially by today's standards.
posted by psmealey at 4:38 PM on May 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the great post, psmealey!

CCR's music was some of the rootsiest, bluesiest Americana to ever appear on the US charts. When one listens now to tunes like Green River, Bad Moon Rising and Travelin' Band it's almost unthinkable that these were huge Top 40 hits. They were so raw, so not overproduced. They really sound like some guys just banging out a song, live, in a room. That's what they were. It's pretty hard to imagine that any music so sonically honest will ever again appear as major radio hits.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:45 PM on May 27, 2007


I was going to comment on your great post psmealey, but unfortunately I am stuck in Lodi again.
posted by vronsky at 4:54 PM on May 27, 2007


unfortunately I am stuck in Lodi again.

Wow, you too, huh? I think we rode in on the same greyhound, vronsky, and we'll be walkin out if we go.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:00 PM on May 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, I was keeding ffs. I love me some Creedence.

They were surprisingly funky, unafraid to cover blues and motown in ways that no other white band could ("Heard it Through the Grapevine"). And it's almost as if they wrote "Proud Mary" just so Tina Turner could sing it funky. That's quite a legacy.
posted by bardic at 5:04 PM on May 27, 2007


Well, this post, it came out of the sky, but don't be Proud Mary, just hang out Down On The Corner and cause a Commotion.
posted by jonmc at 5:05 PM on May 27, 2007


I love me some Creedence.

NTM, 'Fortunate Son' is one of the best lyrical swipes at the GW Bushes of this world, and CCR always backed their lyrics up with som kick-ass music.
posted by jonmc at 5:07 PM on May 27, 2007


What about this for a Fogerty birthday cake?
posted by nickyskye at 5:19 PM on May 27, 2007


That's it. I'm officially protesting.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:25 PM on May 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Excellent stuff! Thanks. He's such a great, bluesy guitarist.
posted by RussHy at 5:31 PM on May 27, 2007


how many musical genres are YOU progenitor of, lynnster? i think you're just jealous because you invented swamp rock at the same time as Fogerty, but he beat you to the patent.
posted by thedaniel at 5:41 PM on May 27, 2007


Miss Lynnster, while I do love me some Creedence, I had a very similar run-in with Tom Skerritt, and will hate him with a hot fury for all of my days on this earth. So I understand fully. In solidarity, I will refrain from clicking any of the above links until his birthday has passed.

For the record, I really needed my job, so I referred to him as Mr. Skerritt the whole time he was yelling at me, and in the end apologized for any inconvenience, and assured him that my inability to grant his ridiculous demands was in no way personal, as I was a huge fan of Magnum, P.I.
posted by billyfleetwood at 5:43 PM on May 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, well... you're right. I did. And admittedly I couldn't get to the patent office because I was busy in the WOMB at the time.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:52 PM on May 27, 2007


I can vouch for billyfleetwood's experience. A long time ago, I had a girlfriend who waited tables at the Pink Door in Seattle, where Mr. Skerritt was a frequent customer. Yep, total asshole.

However, if you stack up composing "Who'll Stop the Rain" versus playing Tom Cruise's superior in Top Gun? Mr. Fogerty still gets a pass.
posted by psmealey at 5:53 PM on May 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


A long time ago, I had a girlfriend who waited tables at the Pink Door in Seattle, where Mr. Skerritt was a frequent customer. Yep, total asshole.

Really? That's a drag. I liked him in M*A*S*H.
posted by jonmc at 6:13 PM on May 27, 2007


And admittedly I couldn't get to the patent office because I was busy in the WOMB at the time.

Piker. Mozart published several prenatal concertos, and the sperm and ovum that eventually formed CPE Bach wrote two halves of a sonata before they met in Mrs. Bach.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:54 PM on May 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


I liked him in M*A*S*H.

Wow. Impressive. Incredible memory.
posted by psmealey at 7:13 PM on May 27, 2007


Only 40th?
Well at least he beat out Andrés Segovia
posted by speug at 7:38 PM on May 27, 2007


Well at least he beat out Andrés Segovia

Well, that list is a little silly. Keith Richards at #10 of all time? Shit, he was barely the third best all-time guitarist in the Rolling Stones.
posted by psmealey at 7:50 PM on May 27, 2007


i think you're just jealous because you invented swamp rock at the same time as Fogerty

no, it couldn't have had anything to do with musicians from louisiana, could it?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:07 PM on May 27, 2007


*looks over list of top 100 guitarists, notes with great satisfaction that yngwie malmsteen is nowhere to be found*
posted by pyramid termite at 8:11 PM on May 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Who's the woman rockin' out on the guitar in the Pearl jam link????
posted by incurable at 8:28 PM on May 27, 2007


incurable, a YouTube commenter (cough, cough) identifies the lineup in that clip as "Pearl Jam with: Ben Harper, Steve Earle, Johnny Marr, Cheetah Chrome, Sleater Kinney, Corin Tucker, Mike Tyler, Jack Irons, Betchadupa, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Idlewild, and the Buzzcocks."
posted by Songdog at 8:58 PM on May 27, 2007


Bravo, to you, Miss Lynnster. I heard another first-hand story which kinda bears out your impression of him, but I ain't got the time to type everything and I will now tell of the time I met John Fogerty.

At Jazz Fest in New Orleans in the 80's. We were watching the Hackberry Ramblers -- the oldest band in the history of the world. I remember they joked that the "rookie" in the band joined in '47 or something like that. They were great; they really were. I looked over and saw Fogerty standing in the crowd. He was kinda disguised with a ball cap and big shades on. I told my buddy, "That's John Fogerty." He said "You're full of shit." I said "Watch."

I noticed Fogerty had a body guard accompanying him. He's a rock & roll legend, after all, in a crowd of approx. 60,000. The bruiser kept about a 10 ft. distance.

I casually meandered over and said something to the effect of...

Me: Hey. How's it going?
JF: Good. Just enjoying the show.
Me: Yeah, these guys are great. You seen 'em before?
JF: Every year.
Me: When are you gonna play here?
JF: Oh, I don't know.
Me: Haven't they asked you?
JF: Every year.
Me: Can I get a picture with you.
JF: How do you want me to stand? Is this alright?

He then put his arm around my shoulder and smiled largely for my girlfriend's camera. He was nice as he could be. If the photo wasn't buried in an unknown shoebox in an unknown closet, I'd scan and share it.

It was right after that when Centerfield came out; his career was rejuvenated and he did play the New Orleans Jazz Fest repeatedly.

Something nobody's mentioned is Fogerty's absolutely world-class voice. He belts it out like few. He's got a great tenor, distinctive, rock & roll voice by any measure. He's like Roy Orbison. Roy sang his ass off till the day he died.

He's a very good guitarist, but that's never been his forte. That's no secret. He's said he took the 12 year hiatus from recording between '73 and '85's Centerfield to work on his guitar playing and it showed.

His arrangements have always been great. He has stressed in interviews the importance of arrangements, especially for small combos. His band was always a small combo playing simple, well-defined and very effective parts. Many jam bands could take a lesson from Fogerty in this regard, IMHO.

You wanna hear a great record? Listen to his Blue Moon Swamp, from '97.
posted by wsg at 9:08 PM on May 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


I take it back. psmealey did mention his prolific singing in his original post.
posted by wsg at 9:23 PM on May 27, 2007


Well, one thing that should be noted is that when I met him, John Fogerty was NOT in a good place in his career & not very relevant. He hadn't released an album in nearly ten years and he was not aging well. He was definitely something of a hasbeen at that point. Leastwise he was acting like one. And it was not an attractive look. At all. Some people wear humility well and some do not.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:47 PM on May 27, 2007


"Fortunate Son" is punk as fuck. That is all.
posted by Haruspex at 7:09 AM on May 28, 2007


Thanks for posting this, psmeasley. I really love Fogerty/CCR for his championing of the underdog/working class and his use of simple lyrics and songs to do it. If there were ever a person to study on how to write a rock song that will be timeless, it would be Mr. Fogerty. And, strangely, even miss lynnster's idiotic shouting of "Look at me, look at me," didn't quite ruin this for me. Almost, but not quite.
posted by sleepy pete at 8:44 AM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


miss lynnster writes 'I shall hereby direct you to the previous telling.'

It could have been worse though. You could have gone home with Phil Spector!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:27 AM on May 28, 2007


Man, I love me some CCR. It is funny too: the band seems to cut through any musical differences. There are people with whom the only music we have in common is CCR. And that is pretty cool. Way more American than John Wayne.

Also, what sleepy pete said.
posted by dame at 9:29 AM on May 28, 2007


thedaniel writes 'how many musical genres are YOU progenitor of, lynnster? i think you're just jealous because you invented swamp rock at the same time as Fogerty, but he beat you to the patent.'

Meh. He's no Tony Joe White, that's for sure.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:34 AM on May 28, 2007


Oh Pete, bite me. I was just being silly based on an old inside joke that was started on Mefi many months ago. THE TITLE of this post is a shoutout to me.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:53 AM on May 28, 2007


For what it's worth, I too assumed you were pissing on this thread because of your hatred for Fogerty. (I didn't say anything because I like you in general and we all have a right to our personal reactions—I know someone who can't stand Bob Dylan because he was an asshole in person.) If you were just being silly, you need to work on your delivery.
posted by languagehat at 10:44 AM on May 28, 2007


your favorite band is totally awesome, but it turns out that the people in it are complete assholes.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:28 AM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


CCR also recorded a damn good cover of the Screamin' Jay Hawkins classic, "I Put A Spell On You (artsy video) ."

However, I gotta throw some much-deserved respect for the modern-day Fury's cover...or else she will aurally flay me alive.
posted by stannate at 11:08 PM on June 1, 2007


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