J. Fogerty and his songs

John Cameron Fogerty (1945) is an American musician, singer and songwriter, who began his  career as the lead singer and lead guitarist for the band Creedence Clearwater Revival. Then he became  \a successful solo recording artist,.

Inspired by  rock & roll pioneers, John and his brother Tom Fogerty joined  Doug Clifford  and  Stu Cook in the late 1950s to form a  band ,  releasing  a few singles that were largely ignored.

When he. was discharged from the Army in 1967, the band changed its name to Creedence Clearwater Revival and things started to improve: ” Proud Mary0″ belongs to this period.

Fogerty, (writer of the songs for the band,  lead singer and lead guitaris), felt that his musical opinions should count for more than those of the others, and this  led  to some hostility.

After a pause from the music industry, Fogerty’s solo career re-emerged in the 1980s. In 1990 his brother Tom died of AIDS at the age of 48, having contracted HIV from blood transfusions. The two hadn’t been speaking to each other for some time, owing to problems connected to royalties and in the tribute he delivered at Tom’s funeral, John 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 travelled to Mississippi  in 1990 and  decided to start making a new album and to present his old Creedence material in concerts. But he always refused to perform with his former band mates. In a concert in 1993 he was also joined by  Bruce Sprengsteen    who stated, “As a songwriter, only a few did as much in three minutes  He was an Old Testament, shaggy-haired prophet, a fatalist.  He was severe, he was precise, he said what he had to say and he got out of there”

In 2004, Fogerty released “Déjà vu All over Again“. a  denunciation of the Itaq war  as another Vietnam, a senseless squandering of American lives and power                            In 2010  he was nominated for the Best Rock Solo Vocal Performance

Déjà vu is a song about the similarities between the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq, because he believed the US government was making the same mistakes again.              He stated “When the Vietnam War officially ended, I was driving and listening to the radio, and they said, ‘America has declared that we are withdrawing from Vietnam.’ I looked at the radio and said, “Let’s make damn sure we never do something that stupid again….. Years later, when the government decided we were going to invade Iraq, …. I thought we were going back to the Vietnam War, so I  wrote this narrative, a cultural and political narrative.  … I wrote about the war that was coming and the unnecessary deaths that were going to happen all over again. I was overcome with emotion. I guess I was guided there. I did not create that song. It was handed to me.
            Proud Mary.   John Fogerty explained  the origins of this  hit, which would go on to be covered by a lot of artists including  Tina Turner: “In the fall of 1967 I bought a small notebook and began keeping a list of song-title ideas. My first entry was “Proud Mary.” I didn’t really know what those two words meant but I liked how they sounded together.

At the time, I  was still in the Army Reserve and was concerned about being sent to Vietnam. One day in the early summer of ‘68, I saw an oversize envelope on the steps of our apartment building. It was my honorable discharge. In the blink of an eye, I was a civilian again. … I went inside, picked up my guitar and began playing a song intro I had been working on,  based on the opening to Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony” … When I added rhythm to the chords, the song had the motion of a boat…  so I wrote lyrics about a riverboat…. I finished most of it in two hours. Then I opened my notebook for a song title. There was “Proud Mary.”                                                               He also said that “Proud Mary” was arranged from parts of different songs, one of which was about a “washerwoman named Mary.”                                                                                                                                           Anyway, John Fogerty hadn’t yet seen the Mississippi River when he wrote this song; he had never cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis or hitched a ride on a riverboat queen.  He saw that river in the fall of ’68,: “I had never seen it before. I was taken to a place where a riverboat was dry-docked. Tourists didn’t know about it, only local kids. It was very emotional for me. It’s funny—the boat looked exactly as I had imagined it.”

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