7 Songs To Summarize The Career Of John Fogerty
via Creedence Clearwater Revival/YouTube
John Fogerty has enough accomplishments and accolades under his belt to make him a legend not just in rock but also in pop culture. He co-founded Creedence Clearwater Revival and was mainly responsible for a string of hits that catapulted the band to rockstar status. Even after they disbanded and went their separate ways, Fogerty managed to pursue a successful solo career.
He once said, “Why would I go to all this trouble and only sell one record to my mom? I wasn’t embarrassed that I was ambitious. We wanted to be the best we could be.” And that ambition propelled him to the top. He was a force to be reckoned with. His songs resonated with people and even decades after their release, they remain untouchable.
Here are seven songs that defined his six-decade career.
7. Travelin’ Band (Cosmo’s Factory, 1970)
This was a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic and for many fans, this became one of the songs that made them fall in love with rock. You can easily spot Fogerty’s inspiration – 1950s sound especially that from Little Richard. Bass player Stu Cook said that this was more or less a combination of ’50s rock classics but it did not rip off any one song in particular.
6. Bad Moon Rising (Green River, 1969)
One of CCR’s most iconic tracks that spawned several cover versions done in various styles from psychedelia to reggae. This song became a mainstay not just in classic rock radio stations but even in movies. Fogerty drew inspiration for the 1941 film The Devil and Daniel Webster. Bad Moon Rising is basically about “apocalypse that was going to be visited upon us.”
5. Lookin’ Out My Back Door (Cosmo’s Factory, 1970)
It’s the song that showcased CCR’s musicianship. A lot of people speculated that the lyrics were about drugs but Fogerty clarified that it was actually written for his then three-year-old son, Josh hence the colorful imagery. According to him, “I knew he would love it if he heard me on the radio singing – doot doot doo, lookin’ out my back door.”
4. Born on the Bayou (Bayou Country, 1969)
One of CCR’s signature songs, Fogerty wrote this even though he’s never been to a bayou. He simply did his research and also used his imagination. He said, “‘Born on the Bayou’ was… about a mythical childhood and a heat-filled time, the Fourth of July. I put it in the swamp where, of course, I had never lived. I was trying to be a pure writer, no guitar in hand, visualizing and looking at the bare walls of my apartment.” This eventually became a prime example of “swamp rock.”
3. Have You Ever Seen The Rain (Pendulum, 1971)
John Fogerty never shied away from airing his political and social sentiments through his songs. So it’s no surprise that some believed this was about the Vietnam War with “rain” describing the bombs being dropped from planes. Fogerty, however, explained that he wrote this at a time when there was so much tension between the band members especially with the imminent departure of his brother Tom from CCR.
2. Proud Mary (Bayou Country, 1969)
If Fogerty wrote only this and nothing else, he’d still be a legend. He started working on the song after his discharge from the National Guard and initially, it was about a maid who worked for rich people. Stu Cook is the one who suggested a riverboat. Like some of his other songs, Fogerty didn’t write from experience instead, he envisioned a story.
1. Fortunate Son (Willy and the Poor Boys, 1969)
Speaking of political, this went on to become an anti-war anthem especially for those who protested and opposed the US military’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Fogerty was not a huge fan of the then-president of the United States Richard Nixon. In an interview, Fogerty said: “The song speaks more to the unfairness of class than war itself. It’s the old saying about rich men making war and poor men having to fight them.”