“Outside my window, I can hear the radio.
And I know that motor wagon’s getting ready to fly…
Cause it’s almost Saturday night.”
John Fogerty emerged from the 1960’s as one of the most engaging rock n’ roll writers in music. His songs with Creedence Clearwater Revival were timeless in both lyrical content and sound. It would be difficult to decide if they were written in 1870 or 1970, similar to The Band’s scope of musical experience. Over the course of seven albums with CCR, John Fogerty sang, wrote, played guitar on, arranged and produced a majority of their material. By the time “Mardi Gras” was released on longtime record label Fantasy Records in 1972, the other band members had insisted on writing and singing their own songs as well. This did not bode well for the band’s fortunes, as “Mardi Gras” was a flop and the band called it quits that same year.
Fogerty embarked on what seemed to be a promising solo career in 1973 with the album “The Blue Ridge Rangers”, a collection of traditional songs. Fogerty’s name appeared nowhere on the album and although it is hailed as a classic today, it was not a commercial success. His new label Asylum Records released his first “official” solo effort in 1975, the eponymous “John Fogerty”. The album featured the hit ‘Rockin’ All Over the World’, a song many use as the example as to how much Creedence Clearwater Revival was dominated by John Fogerty. The album was full of would be singles, including ‘Almost Saturday Night’, a pop song with country leanings. Incendiary guitar work backed a tremendous chorus that echoed the narrator’s teenage memories. It was revived to great effect in the late 1990’s on the live album “Premonition” on Reprise Records.
Fogerty took an extended break from music after his inaugural solo effort. He recorded a 1976 album that Fogerty himself deemed unsuitable and he destroyed the master tapes. Legal battles with his former band mates and manager sidelined any activity until his next album, 1985’s hit “Centerfield”. His legal troubles continued as his former record label unsuccessfully sued him for plagiarizing himself on the hit “The Old Man Down the Road”. Due to a royalties dispute, Fogerty didn’t play his own Creedence classics for decades. A 1986 follow up album, “Eye of the Zombie”, was released and Fogerty again retreated from public life for over a decade.
To say that we have been deprived of Fogerty’s voice for a majority of his career is an understatement. In 1997, Fogerty began a career renaissance that saw the release of many critically acclaimed albums and the restoration of his song royalties from his CCR days. His live concerts today contain a mixture of new songs and sixties classics, including ‘Almost Saturday Night’. While his talent remains as vital as ever with new topical songs like ‘Deja Vue (All Over Again)’ and ‘Gunslinger’, it is his unbridled enthusiasm that keeps audiences coming back year after year. It is not to be missed as the man is at his best when reveling in his world of musical bliss.