Friday, May 4, 2012

Creedence Clearwater Revival--Fortunate Son (1969)

     I've read a book or two on CCR, and it always leaves me sad. It also leaves me wondering about the kind of childhood that Tom and John Fogerty had to cause such a rivalry later on.
     For a much too brief time (if you don't count their last album,  'Marti Gras'...which wasn't very good, it was less than three years) Creedence was THE American band. Forty years later, it still defines much of what was good about late 60's/early 70's rock.
     However, most of that time they were on top of the world, there was turmoil. The band originally had Tom as lead vocalist and chief songwriter. As John began singing and writing, the music not only took a different turn creatively, the hits began to pile with with a fury that could only be described as breathtaking. Fourteen hits (several of them two sided) in a 24 month period reached the top 20 from January 1969 to January 1971.
     You would think this would leave the guys happy, but it seemed everything but. Tom was obviously jealous over John's success. This was compounded greatly by John's instance of leaving the others out of the writing process, and never giving them the credit they deserved for creating the "sound" of CCR if not the actual song.
     They always had a chip on their shoulder about being seen as a "serious" band. They guys wanted to be seen on the same plane as the Beatles. Although some music critics at the time saw them as "just" a "singles" band, this was much more than just bubblegum. Besides the fact that no one seemed to mind the Beatles continuing to produce fantastic singles, CCR was crafting songs that could easily be seen as equal to what was being done by ANY group of the era.
      Besides that, when Fogerty wanted to make a statement, he could. Listen back to back to "Fortunate Son" and "Have You Ever Seen The Rain". One would not find a pair of songs that described the war from a average kid's perspective any better than these two. There are many anti-war songs that are more direct in the wording perhaps, but there are few with as much literary (or on the case of 'Fortunate Son', sonic as well) punch. 


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