John Fogerty Rock Concert Poster
1967–1972: Creedence Clearwater Revival
He joined an Army Reserve unit. He served at Fort Bragg, Fort Knox, and Fort Lee. Fogerty was discharged from the Army in July 1967. In the same year, the band changed its name to Creedence Clearwater Revival. At this time, John took his brother’s place as lead singer for the band. By 1968, things started to pick up for the band. The band released their eponymous debut album and also had their first hit single, “Susie Q“. Many other hit singles and albums followed, beginning with “Proud Mary” and the album Bayou Country.
Fogerty, as writer of the songs for the band (as well as lead singer and lead guitarist), felt that his musical opinions should count for more than those of the others, leading to resentments within the band. These internal rifts, and Tom’s feeling that he was being taken for granted, caused Tom to leave the group in January 1971. The two other group members, bassist Stu Cook and drummer Doug Clifford, wanted a greater role in the band’s future. Fogerty, in an attempt to keep things together, insisted Cook and Clifford share equal songwriting and vocal time on what would become the band’s final album, Mardi Gras, released in April 1972, which included the band’s last two singles, the 1971 hit “Sweet Hitch-Hiker“, and “Someday Never Comes“, which barely made it into the Billboard Top 20.
Cook and Clifford told Fogerty that the fans would not accept “Mardi Gras” as a CCR LP, but he said, “My voice is a unique instrument, and I will not lend it to your songs.” He gave them an ultimatum: either they would do it or he would quit immediately. They accepted his ultimatum, but the album received poor reviews. It was a commercial success, however, peaking at #12 and achieving gold record status. It generated weaker sales than their previous albums. The group disbanded shortly afterwards. The only reunion of all four original members would be at Tom Fogerty’s wedding in 1980. John, Doug and Stu played a 45-minute set at their 20th class reunion in 1983, and John and Doug would reunite again for a brief set at their 25th class reunion in 1988.
As CCR was coming to an end, Fogerty began working on a solo album of country & western covers, on which he produced, arranged, and played all of the instruments. Despite the solo nature of the recordings, however, Fogerty elected to credit the album to “The Blue Ridge Rangers”—a band of which he was the only member.
The “group” released The Blue Ridge Rangers, its only album, in 1973; it spun off the Top 20 hit “Jambalaya“, as well as a lesser hit in “Heart Of Stone”. Fogerty, still using “The Blue Ridge Rangers” name, then released a self-penned rock & roll single”: “You Don’t Owe Me” b/w “Back in the Hills” (Fantasy F-710). It was a commercial flop, failing to make the Hot 100 in the U.S. Fogerty thereafter abandoned the “Blue Ridge Rangers” identity, and released all his subsequent work under his own name.
In early 1974, Fogerty released “Comin’ Down The Road”—backed with the instrumental “Ricochet”.
His second solo album, John Fogerty, was released in 1975. Sales were slim and legal problems delayed a followup, though it yielded “Rockin’ All Over the World“, a Top 40 hit for Fogerty in North America. Two years later, in 1977, British boogie rockers Status Quo recorded their version of “Rockin’ All Over the World”, which became a huge hit and made the song world-famous, not least by opening 1985’s Live Aid with the song that had become one of their best-known anthems.
In 1976, Fogerty finished an album called Hoodoo. A single, “You Got The Magic” backed with “Evil Thing”, preceded the album’s release, but it performed poorly. The album, for which covers had already been printed, was rejected by Asylum Records a couple of weeks before its scheduled release, and Fogerty agreed that it was not up to his usual high standards. Fogerty told Asylum Records to destroy the master tapes for Hoodoo sometime in the 1980s. Fogerty says that he was unable to write music during this period of his life, primarily due to stresses from ongoing financial and legal difficulties with Fantasy Records. Although Fogerty was signed to Asylum in North America, Fantasy continued to hold rights to his records for the rest of the world; unwilling to allow the label to continue to profit from any new material, in 1980 he managed to terminate his contract with the record company by forgoing any future sales royalties on all of the music he produced with CCR, a deal which inevitably cost him millions of dollars, but which he says restored his peace of mind.