John Fogerty is one of the rock legends of the 60s and 70s, and if his name is less well known than others, it's because this singer and songwriter, a rocker to the core and to the last drop of blood, also cultivates a rare virtue in the business: discretion. And yet, it was he who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his band, Creedance Clearwater Revival (CCR). And it was he who RollingStone magazine ranked as one of the top 100 singers and guitarists in the world. And that's just the beginning!
Born in California, he nevertheless embodies a rock music that has its roots in the isolated lands of the bayou. A music as honest as the man himself and which draws on a tradition where guitars are played by the fire, lost in the wild immensity of the swamps. A rock that mixes with precision with blues, rockabillly or country, carried by a powerful voice, sometimes a bit nostalgic and fatalistic. Because John Fogerty loves music but chooses his battles carefully, doubting in his younger years that he could be the driving force behind major changes.
He is like that, this old rock veteran, with both feet on the ground and his head in the melodies that have taken him around the world and to the top of the charts. And if today his hair has turned white and his wrinkles have lined up, he has lost nothing of his thirst for writing, his need for freedom, his taste for justice. His songs continue to speak to everyone, to inspire, to tell stories on rhythms that draw on classic rock, which has become universal and timeless over time.
Today, freed from a battle that has taken him years - to recover the copyrights of the songs he wrote in his first life with CCR - he says he is ready to hit the road once again. At 77, he says, "I'm looking forward to new ideas and a renewed interest in my music... like a revival. A sign that rock is indeed one of the elixirs of eternal youth.
They were called the Golliwogs, but eventually changed their name to Creedance Clearwater Revival, a name that marked rock history with songs that were anthems for a denunciatory freedom. Proud Mary, Fortunate Son, Bad Moon Rising are all hits that marked the 60's and 70's and inspired a whole youth. John Fogerty, of course, composed and sang the songs. The group enjoyed worldwide success before disbanding in 1972.
As soon as his band disbanded, John Fogerty took up music again in his own way: in a perfectionist and relentless work. In 1975, he released his first eponymous solo album, but it failed to match the success he had enjoyed with CCR. In 1976, he did it again with Hoodoo. Once again, his songs struggled to find a place in the charts. Disappointed, the singer admitted that his music was not completely up to scratch and asked his record company to destroy the tapes. For almost 10 years, the artist was not heard from again. But he still has things to say.
A short trip to the bayou later, John Fogerty finally returned to music. Released in 1985, his Centerfield album is a winner this time around. The title track is a true hymn to baseball, the singer's favourite sport. It quickly took over the radio airwaves as well as the playing fields and the brilliant guitarist returned to favour with his public and the music press. It sounds rock, a bit bluesy and with The Old Man Down the Road, he has finally won over the young and the nostalgic!
In 1993, CCR was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fames, but tensions between the band members remained and the group performed without its leader. The latter preferred to concentrate on his solo career and released the excellent Blue Moon Swamp four years later. Once again, no one was mistaken and the album won a Grammy Award in the best rock album category. In the aftermath, the artist went on an anthology tour, playing the most famous songs of his career, those of CCR, for the first time since he went solo.
In 2023, John Fogerty is back with a new glow. After a series of charity concerts to help children during the Covid pandemic, the artist won a legal battle that had been going on for years and recovered the rights to the songs he wrote for CCR. At last! A victory and a recognition that gives new desires to the artist who is approaching 80 years old but who has kept a teenage sparkle. First a tour, then an album? "There's certainly more to come," he told Rolling Stone magazine. So we wait and cross our fingers.
I grew up listening to CCR's music, then John Fogerty's and I was really excited to finally see him! You can feel that music is his life and he shares it with passion and generosity. By the middle of the show, the whole room was on its feet and never sat down again. From Bad Moon Rising to Centerfield, all the classics were played. A real great rock moment!
What a pleasure it is to produce concerts that are always close to perfection by the great artist, guitarist and singer John Fogerty. For some of us, he's a living legend and his shows remain generous, mixing influences with audacity and without any downtime. It's a pleasure to go back to the roots of a rock that is now ageless, and we want it to last for hours.
It was that kind of evening, which reminded me that rock'n'roll is ageless when it's in your blood. Rock'n'roll stands on its own. By the end, I was all limp, tired, happy. John Fogerty's music will have magnified this Wednesday for the 6286 spectators. And will do the same elsewhere on another evening, in another present, for other spectators. It's all there.