Remove all rose-coloured glasses.
John Fogerty will take Central Alberta fans back to the real Flower Power past by playing the songs of Creedence Clearwater Revival on Tuesday at Red Deer’s Centrium.
While there’s a temptation to wax nostalgic and view the late 1960s and early ’70s as a free-spirited time of peace and love, anyone who’s lived through the Vietnam War era can attest it was not a kinder, gentler time.
Fogerty watched the privileged sons of politicians and millionaires skirt the draft, while poor and middle-class sons were shipped overseas to fight.
He wrote Fortunate Son as a protest song about this inequity. And the tune (released as a split single in 1969 with Down On the Corner) climbed the charts.
The enduring rock song is No. 17 on Pitchfork Media’s 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s list and No. 99 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 2014, Fortunate Son was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
During CCR’s tumultuous, remarkably short lifespan, from 1967 to 1972, the group managed to make music that defines the counterculture area: Bad Moon Rising, Proud Mary, Born on the Bayou, Green River, Down on the Corner, Travelin’ Band, Who’ll Stop the Rain, Run Through the Jungle and Up Around the Bend.
CCR, once described by Melody Maker as the best band in the world, was a headliner at Woodstock, released eight million-selling double-sides singles in a row, and put out six platinum-selling albums.
And it all started in El Cerrito, Calif., in 1959, when Fogerty started playing music with his junior-high friends Doug Clifford and Stu Cook. John’s brother, Tom Fogerty, later joined the group that was signed to Fantasy Records in 1964.
After John Fogerty and Clifford completed military service in 1968, the band officially became Creedence Clearwater Revival and recorded a debut self-titled album.
Through the seminal recordings that followed, Bayou Country, Green River and Willy and the Poor Boys (all from 1969), Fogerty was central to the group’s sound as its lead vocalist and main songwriter.
His front-and-centre role became a key factor in the power struggle that was to come between Fogerty and the rest of the band members that ended in an acrimonious breakup in 1972.
Fogerty went on to a successful solo career, producing hits such as Centrefield. But bad blood remained with his former bandmates over a variety of issues, including royalty claims. The dispute was so intense that Fogerty refused to play with Clifford and Cook even when CCR was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. (When his brother Tom died in 1990, the two hadn’t reconciled.)
After years of legal troubles that stretched into the 1980s (Fogerty was unsuccessfully sued by Fantasy Records for supposedly ripping off his old song Run Through the Jungle for his new song Old Man on the Road), the singer went through a period of not wanting to perform his old hits.
Fortunately for fans of CCR, the 70-year-old got over this and is on the road again.
He’s even facing the old days head-on in an autobiography being released in October. It’s called Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music, and pledges “an unvarnished look back” at the highs and lows of his personal and professional history.
“I’m excited to share my story and my life with you,” Fogerty says in a statement. “You’re going to hear where it all started, my passion to become the best musician I could be. You’ll travel down some rough roads, but that road leads to something beautiful.”
Much like his music, Fogerty promises, “My book won’t be sugarcoated! It’s all in there.”
Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert are from $20, $50 or $80 from Ticketmaster.