Happy Birthday John Fogerty: Celebrating the Rock and Roll Legend’s 76th

by Clayton Edwards

John Fogerty is nothing short of a rock and roll legend. He was the frontman of one of the greatest American rock bands of the late sixties and early seventies. Fogerty also had a solid solo career. On top of that, he was a Vietnam-era veteran and one hell of a songwriter.

John Fogerty turns 76 today. To celebrate his birthday, we’re going to look at some of the best moments from his life and career.

John Fogerty is a Veteran

If you’re a fan of Creedence, you know that they spoke out about all kinds of social issues. The Vietnam war was just one of those things that worked its way into their songs. Many fans don’t know that John Fogerty, the main songwriter for the band, was in the Army during the Vietnam era.

Fogerty signed up with the US Army Reserves as a supply clerk in 1966. According to The Fort Knox News, he went to a recruiter’s office about the time his draft number came up.  The future CCR frontman never saw combat. However, he did go through basic training. He did so at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Later, he found himself stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Finally, he moved on to advanced training at the Quartermaster School in Fort Lee, Virginia.

John Fogerty never left the States. However, he did find his time in the military intense. After all, it was the height of the war. About this time he said, “Every young man’s clock was running pretty fast.”

He was on active duty for six months and was in the Reserves from 1966 to 1968.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

John Fogerty’s time in the military inspired his future songwriting. He, his bother, and a few other guys had been playing music together for years under several names when Fogerty went to the military. However, when he was finally discharged, they decided to make a serious go at a musical career. They settled on the name Creedence Clearwater Revival and started cranking out hits.

Run Through the Jungle

The band was based in San Francisco. However, their sound is firmly rooted in the south. Their blend of soul, country, and rock dominated the charts for four straight years. Instead of singing love songs or songs about heartache, they focused on darker themes. CCR was all about the swamps, bayous, and mighty rivers of the south. At the same time, they referenced the Vietnam war which was still going strong when they dropped their first album.  

Fortunate Son

The John Fogerty-fronted band released some of the biggest hits of the era. They were also the first major act signed to play Woodstock. They released seven albums between 1968 and 1972. That’s right. All of those great CCR hits came out over the course of four years. They released three albums in 1969 and two in 1970. The boys were on a roll until they weren’t. The band parted ways in 72.

Bad Moon Rising

Put John Fogerty In, Coach, He’s Ready to Play

Fortunately, John Fogerty couldn’t stay away from music after CCR split.

He saw the end coming for the band. So, he started working on a solo album. His first solo release was a country cover album. Even though it was a solo project, he attributed it to a band called The Blue Ridge Rangers. He was the sole member of that “band.”

He took the Hank Sr. hit “Jambalaya,” to number 16, proving that he had chart potential without CCR.

John Fogerty cut his first official solo record in 1975. The self-titled release spawned one top-40 hit with “Rockin’ All Over the World.”

The next year, he worked on another album called Hoodoo. However, it never saw the light of day. At this point, Fogerty took a break from music for a while. Then, he came back in 1985 with Centerfield. That album has since been certified double platinum. It also topped the Billboard 200 album chart and peaked at number 7 on the publication’s Top Country Albums chart.

The title track is a staple of both classic rock radio and baseball games around the country.

Since then, John Fogerty has released seven solo studio albums. The latest, Fogerty’s Factory dropped last year.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Creedence Clearwater Revival was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. It was just shy of twenty years since their breakup. The ceremony also took place three years after Tom Fogerty, John’s brother and CCR’s rhythm guitarist died. It wasn’t easy to get the surviving members of the original lineup back together for just about anything. However, when the Hall of Fame came calling, they answered. How could they not? Bruce Springsteen inducted them. Check out the video below to see the ceremony.