Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bad Luck Rising in His Biography, John Fogerty Recalls the Highs (and Lows) of Rock Stardom in the 1960s

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bad Luck Rising in His Biography, John Fogerty Recalls the Highs (and Lows) of Rock Stardom in the 1960s

Article excerpt

"FORTUNATE SON: MY LIFE, MY MUSIC"

By John Fogerty

Little, Brown ($30).

John Fogerty's earliest musical inspiration came from a Pittsburgher.

In "Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music," the creator of the standard "Proud Mary," that atmospheric anthem about a Southern riverboat, recalls the first music he heard was a children's record with the Stephen Foster tunes "Oh! Susanna" and "Camptown Races." That experience, he believes, preordained the fixation on Southern culture that defined his musical vision. Foster, who sold many of his songs, received no royalties, plunging him into depression, poverty and alcoholism before his untimely death in 1864.

Mr. Fogerty's narrative doesn't literally follow Foster's, yet he endured similar tribulations. He and his four brothers started out middle class in blue-collar El Cerrito, Calif., until their parents divorced, leaving the Fogerty boys with their mother, who worked to keep food on the table.

Music became his touchstone. The vivid memories of his first encounters with the music of his blues, folk, country and rockabilly heroes capture the joy of discovery that led him to the guitar and playing in bands. One combo, the Golliwogs, made up of Mr. Fogerty, his brother Tom, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford became Creedence Clearwater Revival, a name Mr. Fogerty coined in 1967. Their label, San Francisco-based Fantasy Records, was known primarily for jazz releases.

Creedence was one of America's most popular and beloved bands by 1969, fueled by Mr. Fogerty's backwoods-bayou vision. In an era of psychedelia, his intense vocals and the group's simple, guitar- driven sound set them apart. He explains how he created "Proud Mary," "Green River," "Bad Moon Rising," "Down on the Corner," "Run Through the Jungle" and "Fortunate Son," Vietnam-era anthems that resonated with the troops there, and the youth culture here.

The other band members came to resent Mr. Fogerty's dominant musical role. …

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