From humble beginnings with The Golliwogs to the big stage of Royal Albert Hall as the frontman for Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty’s career has spanned more than half a century.
Funnily enough, only a handful of those years were spent as the lead singer and songwriter with CCR.
The group had a quiet debut with its self-titled 1968 album before making the leap to the mainstream with Bayou Country. That 1969 effort featured Proud Mary, a Billboard chart hit that remains one of their signature tunes.
Six months later, Creedence released Green River featuring Bad Moon Rising, and the band had officially reached superstardom.
While the contributions of Stu Cook (bass), Doug Clifford (drums) and Fogety’s older brother Tom (rhythm guitar) should not be overlooked, it’s clear that CCR reached the level that it did thanks to Fogerty’s powerhouse vocals and memorable songwriting. This gave the group a distinct bluesy/rockabilly sound that resonated with audiences in the ‘60s and ‘70s, while continuing to receive significant radio play today.
The band’s demise was swift after Fogerty, who had long been seen as the ship’s captain, relinquished some of his creative control and the group began producing critically panned albums, culminating in 1972’s Mardi Gras, which turned out to be the band’s final record. Rolling Stone reviewer Jon Landau savagely called it “the worst album I have ever heard from a major rock band.”
Mardi Gras came to be known as the rotten egg in an otherwise deliciously fluffy omelette and it marked the end of CCR and the start of a successful solo career for its frontman.
Fogerty’s first two solo efforts gained limited traction, but 1985’s Centrefield produced hits such as the title track and The Old Man Down the Road on its way to the top of the U.S. charts (peaking at number two in Canada) and announcing to the music world that Fogerty could produce quality music on his own just fine.
In recent years, Fogerty hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down despite reaching an age where most people are well into retirement. The 71 year-old has released four albums since the turn of the century, including 2013’s Wrote a Song for Everyone, which peaked at number three in both Canada and the U.S.
Regular tours and an appearance on NBC’s The Voice have ensured that Fogerty’s music has reached younger generations who were born well after CCR split.
The American rock icon will be bringing his talents to Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria on Oct. 19 as part of a Western Canadian tour that will also include stops in Abbotsford, Calgary and Edmonton.
—Joel Tansey, Vancouver Island Free Daily