Arts & Entertainment

Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music by John Fogerty with Jimmy McDonough

a2c8f67a761a84028ae0_Fortunate_Son.jpg
a2c8f67a761a84028ae0_Fortunate_Son.jpg

Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music by John Fogerty with Jimmy McDonough (Little, Brown, and Co, 2015)

 

“Bad Moon Rising.” “Suzie Q.” “Green River.” “Lookin' Out My Back Door.” “Who'll Stop the Rain.” “Down on the Corner.” “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” “Proud Mary.” If you are a Baby Boomer, or even if you are a little younger, immediately upon reading these titles, the rock and roll music written by John Fogerty is playing on the record player in your brain. You can hear the bass line of “Proud Mary,” you can hear the gutsy guitar solo in the Creedence version of “Heard It Through the Grapevine.” The music of Creedence Clearwater Revival is imprinted in our heads as we “listen to the happy noise” and “stamp our feet.” Creedence played a form of contemporary music known as “swamp rock,” created by the genius of John Fogerty, who lived and breathed music from the time he was a little boy until present day. And, although the band, Creedence Clearwater Revival existed for only five short years, many of their distinctive songs outsold the Beatles during their reign as rock and roll heroes.

Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music by John Fogerty with Jimmy McDonough is a better than average autobiography of a rock star because it is so sincerely and humbly written by a guy who can still perform better than any young star out there today. I have been lucky enough to see John Fogerty perform twice over the last few years, both concerts being held at the PNC Arts Center in Holmdel, and at one of them a guest appearance by Fogerty's good pal Bruce Springsteen occurred, bringing down an already overwhelmed, rocking out audience represented by all age groups.

Sign Up for E-News

Completely awed by Fogerty's command of the stage, his energy, his presence, I have said to my husband on more than one occasion, “He had to have sold his soul to the devil to look this good and sound this good at his age.” Born in 1945, Fogerty is now 71 years old, but you would never know it when he lights up a stage with his energy and passion for performing. It is obvious that it is of the utmost importance to John Fogerty to give his all to every performance; he never leaves the audience wanting for one of his songs. He plays them all, but for a long, long time John Fogerty wasn't allowed to play his songs and was conspicuously absent from the music world.

Fogerty's long career as a master musician/song writer has been far from easy. Fogerty claims that he learned how to be a performer from greats like James Brown and Jackie Wilson when as a youngster, he spent many happy days at concerts performed at the Oakland Auditorium. He describes a James Brown performance in this way, “He'd sing one song---'Please, Please, Please—-' and then suddenly, pow! James goes down on the ground with the split. Then he's up on his feet and into another song. Bam! He might've been on for twenty minutes, but he and the band did twelve songs. The idea was to explode in a very short period of time. Energy! At the end, everybody's mouths hung open---'Whaaa happened?' I loved them!” (p. 78)

By enduring betrayals from his band mates in Creedence (including his own brother, Tom), the Fantasy record label, and its president Saul Zaentz, who controlled the publishing rights to all of the wonderful songs Fogerty had written while on the Fantasy label, Fogerty has managed to endure and rise above it all. However, the pain of more than twenty years in litigation and alienation from the music community took a deep toll on a good guy, who found himself lost in booze and despair for a long time. The difference, though, between John Fogerty and so many other rock stars, is that Fogerty overcame his troubles and fought his way back to record single albums and continue performing for audiences all over the globe.

In describing his childhood years, Fogerty presents a compact version of the history of rock and roll, one that music lovers can relish and explore. The first recording that Fogerty remembers getting from his Mom was of “Oh! Susanna” and “Camptown Races,” which he loved. His mother explained to young John whom Stephen Foster was, and his importance as a songwriter, and even at the tender age of five, Fogerty recognized that telling a story through music would be a cool thing to do for a living.

Fogerty recalls seeing Elvis for the first time on the Dorsey Brothers' TV show in 1956, and being greatly influenced by the snarling and dangerous young man who took the young art of rock and roll to new heights. Fogerty recalls, “I saw Elvis at the Oakland Coliseum in 1970, when he was just speeding through the songs---the whole Vegas thing with the karate moves. Elvis had recorded 'Proud Mary,' which, of course, was a tribute and an honor, but it seemed like he hurried through it. I guess if I were more tactful I wouldn't say that. Yes, it was great to have your idol do your song, but you just wished that he had killed it. I never got to meet Elvis, and I really wish I had. Elvis got crazy, but he just lost his way. And we have all done that, whether a little or a lot.” (p.41)

But Fogerty reveals that it wasn't Elvis who was the best he ever saw. “Pete Seeger is the greatest entertainer I have ever seen. An incredible musician. He'd be talking, telling a story, that skinny body of his rocking and his head would go back and out would come 'Michael, row the boat ashore . . .' You were there in the boat with Pete. Then he'd get everybody in the whole audience to sing along in three parts. It's like,'Damn. How did we all just do that for an hour?' I've never seen anybody else do that---” (p. 58)

Above all, Fogerty, who is ranked as number 40 of Rolling Stone Magazine's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists and number 72 in their list of 100 Greatest Singers, emphasizes throughout the autobiography the amount of time, even today, that he studies how to become an even better musician. At one point in his life after the break-up of Creedence, he cut an album where he played all of the instruments. The struggle to play every instrument, including the drums, opened his eyes to the fact that he needed to concentrate on becoming a significant force on the guitar. Fogerty's humility regarding his ability to play is one of the main reasons Fortunate Son is so interesting. John Fogerty's work ethic and motivation to achieve and become better are a constant theme that explains to the reader why he is such an icon in the musical world.

Fortunate Son is about the history of rock and roll, the dark side of the music business, and the tragedies and triumphs of a man who will always be remembered for “swamp rock,” although he grew up far from our Southern states. His recognizable voice and rhythms still make music that is impossible to listen to sitting down. Put this verse in your head as I close today's review and ask yourself, “Is my foot tapping? Do I have to get up and dance?”

Early in the evenin', just about supper time

Over by the courthouse, they're startin' to unwind

Four kids on the corner, trying to bring you up,

Willy picks a tune out and he blows it on the harp.

Down on the corner

Out in the street

Willy and the Poor Boys are playin'

Bring a nickel, tap your feet.

 

Beth Moroney, former English teacher and administrator in the Edison Public School District, specialized in teaching Creative Writing and Journalism. Recently Moroney published Significant Anniversaries of Holocaust/Genocide Education and Human/Civil Rights, available through the New Jersey Commission on the Holocaust. A passionate reader, Moroney is known for recommending literature to students, teachers, parents, and the general public for over forty years. Moroney can be contacted at trackdak19@hotmail.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Denville

Morristown Happenings: Things to Do in Morristown This Weekend; July 13 - 15

July 13, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Jump for joy....it's the weekend! Don't let Friday the 13th scare you away, there are lots of fun things to do in and around town this weekend! Have a great weekend everyone!

 

Friday July 13

Spirit Animals Glassblowing Class; Morris County School of Glass; 9am - 11am

Mini Summer Camp: Woodsy Walkers; Great Swamp (Chatham); 10am - 11:30am

Tyke ...

US Junior Amateur: Two Top 10 Seeds Remain, Top-seed Kelly Chinn Out in Round of 32

July 20, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - What a difference a day makes.

Thursday’s round of 32, 16 scores

Friday’s quarterfinal matchups
(Quarterfinal winners advance to the afternoon semifinals, starting at 12:18 p.m. EDT)

After the top nine and 13 of the first 14 seeds advanced to the round of 32 Wednesday, chaos ensued on Thursday at the 71st U.S. Junior Amateur Championship on another ...

Morristown Medical Center Health Pavilion Recognized with 2018 New Good Neighbor Award by the NJBIA

July 20, 2018

Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center Health Pavilion in Rockaway, New Jersey was recognized with the 2018 New Good Neighbor Award by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association on Tuesday.

The New Good Neighbor Award recognizes the companies, architects, builders and financial entities whose redevelopment projects have benefited their communities and improved New ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, July 24, 7:00 PM

Kinnelon Public Library, Kinnelon

Northern NJ Libertarian Party Monthly Meeting

Government

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_4795040bf6b6301f766b_adoptionevent2

Sat, July 28, 2:00 PM

Montville Animal Shelter, Montville

Summer Adoption Event at the Montville Animal ...

Home & Garden Other

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 17, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.

 

 

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little (Dog Ear Publishing, 2015)

 

Rich Little is a national treasure; a living encyclopedia of movie stars, comedians, and former presidents all wrapped into one dynamic package. Recently, my husband and I had the good fortune to see Little perform at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, where he has been doing his uncanny ...

Lucia, Lucia by Adriani Trigiani

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)

 

If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is determined to have a career and be able to support herself, an unusual choice for a girl who was ...

Crowdfunding Options for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Source: Many small start-up businesses and tech ventures in search of capital turn to popular online platforms for crowd fundraising of financial resources to get their concept off the ground and launched into market. Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and GoFundMe, to name a few, offer solutions in generating cash to fund new ideas. How do you get people to contribute to your cause?  Sam Burlum ...