Aug 202007

Fogerty Syndrome, named after Creedence Clearwater Revival leader John Fogerty, refers the musical phenomenon of having a chip on one’s shoulder for reasons known only to one’s self. Also known as Eric’s Burdon.

Ever notice how pissy and pissed off John Fogerty is in his music with Creedence Clearwater Revival and beyond? Fogerty packs a powerful rock package, but warmth and loving vibrations are nowhere to be found. He’s always singing like he’s said what he’s had to say three times already and this fourth time sure as hell is going to be the last time he says it, so listen up! Maybe it’s just the way the good lord made him, but he performs with the flinty eyes of drill sergeant.

A closer examination of his lyrics may make one question what exactly’s gotten under Fogerty’s skin. The guy gives no clues as to his personal life – there are no songs about being deserted by his mother or being torn apart by a lost love. Rather, he works in Chuck Berry territory, but with a major chip on his shoulder…about…something. It’s one thing to approach a biting social commentary song like “Fortunate Son” from this hellbent angle; it’s quite another to push the lyrics of “Willie and the Poor Boys” and “Centerfield” through clenched teeth. Centerfield? No coach in his right mind would put Fogerty in centerfield; he’s not fit for a position requiring such range and fluidity. I’d pen Fogerty up for 8 innings, then stick him in to close games, packing nothing but heat and a badass attitude.

What’s up, Fogerty, do you ever, you know, just chill?


  4 Responses to “Fogerty Syndrome”

  1. BigSteve

    …warmth and loving vibrations are nowhere to be found…

    I saw Fogerty on some tv concert recently (Austin City Limits?), and he introduced a new song that he claimed was the first love song he had ever written. I believe it was addressed to his new wife who looked young enough to be his daughter.

    Anyway in the Creedence canon there seems to be no love/sex/romance at all, except in cover versions (Susie Q, for example). Is there even any “come on people now smile on your brother” type of love? After all Creedence was from the bay area.

    Oh yeah, the new song sucked.

  2. Yeah, the Bay Area but not San Francisco. WAY important distinction. Fogerty was from, like, Steinbeck country, and I think that’s actually a key point to remember both in regards to CCR’s relation to the SF bands and to that blue-collar chip on his shoulder.

  3. As I think some article from years ago put it (where did I see it? anybody know?) Fogerty was often annoyed to see CCR slabeled as simply a good singles band, while groups like The Grateful Dead were considered “artists.” In other words, as Great 48 is pointing towards, exactly the thing that made CCR superior to almost all of the rest of SF bands of the era is the reason CCR was often looked down on at the time.

    Seems like his annoyance at the rejection of the importance of tightly constructed songs causes bitterness even for a lot of people on this list.

    Time to form a jam band and make real art, eh?

  4. UPDATE! Marc Maron makes major breakthrough in cracking John’s Fogerty Syndrome! This is an awesome, long, kinder, wiser interview with the great John Fogerty on WTF. Enjoy.

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