Born in 1945 in California, John Fogerty formed the band that would become Creedence Clearwater Revival at age 14. With Fogerty serving as lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, the group produced such hits as "Bad Moon Rising" and "Fortunate Son." Embroiled in legal disputes after CCR dissolved, Fogerty nevertheless enjoyed solo success with his albums Centerfield (1985) and Blue Moon Swamp (1997).
Early Years and Career
John Cameron Fogerty was born on May 28, 1945, in Berkeley, California. One of five brothers, Fogerty developed his early musical capabilities on the family piano and received his first guitar at age 12. At 14, he formed a band called the Blue Velvets with two classmates, drummer Doug Clifford and bass player Stu Cook. Fogerty's older brother Tom eventually joined the band as a rhythm guitarist and co-vocalist.
Renamed the Golliwogs after signing with Fantasy Records in 1964, the band scored a minor local hit with "Brown Eyed Girl" in 1965. Fogerty was drafted shortly afterward, and he later recalled the seemingly endless marching drills with the Army Reserve as a catalyst for all sorts of creative imagery. He rejoined his bandmates with a renewed focus on writing, and the group changed its name to Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1967.
Upon the release of Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1968, the band enjoyed initial success with its covers of the 1950s hits "Suzie Q" and "I Put a Spell on You." By the arrival of Bayou County in 1969, it was clear that CCR had found its comfort zone, with Fogerty's powerhouse voice conjuring up images of Southern Americana amid a tight mix of blues, rockabilly and folk sounds. The album went platinum, with the single "Proud Mary" rocketing to No. 2 on the Billboard charts.
CCR put out two more platinum albums in 1969, Green River and Willy and the Poor Boys, and continued its string of hits with such classics as "Bad Moon Rising," "Green River" and "Down on the Corner." Along with his reflections on Southern sensibilities and childhood nostalgia, Fogerty became known for his powerful political tracks, most notably with the anti-Vietnam anthem "Fortunate Son."
Considered by many to be the group's artistic peak, Cosmo's Factory (1970) featured such favorites as "Run Through the Jungle" and "Lookin' Out My Back Door." However, discord over Fogerty's tight control of creative and financial matters festered, and in 1970 Tom quit the band shortly after the release of Pendulum, which contained the Top 10 track "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" written about his imminent departure. The subsequent 1972 studio album, Mardi Gras, was poorly received, and CCR disbanded later that year.
Solo Career and Legal Problems
Fogerty recorded his debut 1973 solo album under the pseudonym the Blue Ridge Rangers, and his sophomore effort, John Fogerty (1975), yielded a hit with "Rockin' All Over the World." However, he soon became tangled in a legal dispute with Fantasy as he sought to get out of his contract, and a follow-up album was scrapped.
Fogerty returned with Centerfield (1985), and while its title track became a staple at baseball stadiums, the album brought more legal woes. Fantasy head Saul Zaentz, who owned the CCR catalogue, claimed that the single "The Old Man Down the Road" plagiarized "Run Through the Jungle," and the matter was settled in Fogerty's favor only after a lengthy, costly court battle. Embittered by the experience and his old bandmates' allegiance to Zaentz, Fogerty refused to play with them when CCR was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Returning to the studio after another long layoff, Fogerty earned his first Grammy Award for the 1997 release Blue Moon Swamp. He also began publicly performing CCR favorites for the first time in 15 years.
The legal battles continued between the old bandmates over performance rights, but Fogerty eventually softened his tone over the possibilities of a reunion. In the meantime, he churned out the 2004 album Deja Vu All Over Again, which channeled some of the energy from his earlier anti-war tracks. Later albums, such as The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again (2009) and Wrote a Song For Everyone (2013), featured collaborations with Bruce Springsteen, Brad Paisley and other notable artists.
Even as he neared his 70th birthday, the rock legend showed no signs of slowing down. He embarked on a "His Songs from 1969 and More" tour in late 2014, and in 2015 he joined the cast of Season 9 of The Voice as a mentor for Adam Levine's team. Fogerty's long-awaited autobiography, Fortunate Son: My Life My Music, hit bookstores that autumn. Since then, he continues to perform regularly.
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