HOW IS IT POSSIBLE that a kid born and raised in a Northern California suburb could grow up to write, produce and perform a brand of music so convincing in its rural, Deep South flavor, yet so accessible to a worldwide audience? John Cameron Fogerty first accomplished that unlikely feat in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. And despite relentless competition from British invaders like the Beatles, Rolling Stones and homegrown hit-makers Sly & the Family Stone, Stevie Wonder, Stax and Motown, Fogerty and his band Creedence Clearwater Revival scored no less than 15 Top 10 singles. In one year alone, 1969, they released three Top 10 selling albums. To date, CCR have sold an estimated 26 million records worldwide.
After the group’s acrimonious split in 1972, Fogerty weathered a years-long season of music-business hell before finally returning to the top in 1985 with his solo album, Centerfield, a record whose popular title track was later enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. That John Fogerty penned such a tune is no surprise. His musical legacy is thoroughly American, and that reality is reflected in the artists he invited to join him on his latest album, Wrote A Song For Everyone. These all-American pop, rock and country artists help to render new versions of Fogerty gems, including “Born On The Bayou,” (Kid Rock) “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” (Bob Seger), “Fortunate Son” (Foo Fighters), “Proud Mary” (Jennifer Hudson), “Bad Moon Rising” (Zac Brown Band), “Almost Saturday Night” (Keith Urban) and more. It is an album on which the man himself, now 68, goes toe to toe with performers half his age, and has never sounded more soulful or energized.
The man’s enthusiasm for this years-long project, plus the inclusion of new solo originals, “Train of Fools” and “Mystic Highway,” helps to dispel any expectation that Wrote A Song For Everyone (recorded at multiple studios, engineered by Kevin Harp, mixed by Bob Clearmountain) is just another “duets” record, as John Fogerty himself explains in this exclusive Music Connection interview.
By MC Senior Editor Mark Nardone
Music Connection: When you originally envisioned Wrote A Song For Everyone, what was your artistic goal?
John Fogerty: I didn’t want to do a “duets album.” Two and a half years ago, when I was first getting this idea off the ground, I’d be describing it to an attorney or a record label guy and somebody would say, “Oh yeah, you mean a duets album…” And I would go, “Ugh!” That term makes me cringe, y’know? “Echh!!” I never thought of this album in that way, ever. After the Sinatra duets record was such a success, there were too many bland copycats; I guess you would call them “industry records.”
MC: Yes, technology allows artists to practically phone it in on those.
Fogerty: Yeah, literally (laughs). No, I said to my wife, “Honey we gotta come up with something other than ‘duets.’” Man, I was really running away from that term. I was afraid someone would make it stick to my album. And, as it turned out, the title was right under our noses the whole time: “Wrote A Song For Everyone.”