John Fogerty’s voice should be in the Smithsonian.
Truly, it’s one of the best rock vocals of all time. It’s energetic and buoyant but it’s also gravelly and growls. It’s a feat few have been able to pull off with such vigor and high standard.
Using that voice, Fogerty is responsible for some of the great songs in American rock music history, from “Have You Seen The Rain” to “Fortunate Son” and “Proud Mary,” to many more.
But what does the 77-year-old, California-born outspoken, indelible singer have to say outside his music, outside of his popular songs? What were his thoughts about life and love, his craft, and the world at large?
That is the subject of today’s inquiry. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the 17 best John Fogerty quotes.
1. “You should play with real musicians; the best music comes from real people interacting with each other.”
2. “I don’t know that all the demons have been beaten, but I’m very, very proud of those songs.
3. “But I think beautiful is simple and elegant, like a ballad with simple harmony.”
4. “I’m like a twenty-two-year-old kid in a new band trying to get noticed and breakthrough because the vast majority of people have never seen me play live.”
5. “There’s just not a lot of guys around playing like that these days; a lot of steel players are plugging into stomp boxes, trying to sound like Jeff Beck on a steel guitar.”
6. “When I made Blue Moon Swamp, there was a lot of trial and error; I was trying to find people who would be simpatico with my style, and with what I had in mind for the album.”
7. “I’ve also become much more the musician I’ve always wanted to be.”
8. “Even though James Burton was my idol, I didn’t think I could carry his shoes back then.
9. “I’ve studied a lot of great people over the years—Pete Seeger, James Brown—and tried to incorporate elements that I’ve admired, though I can’t say I dance like James.”
10. “I’m now comfortable playing a lot of the old songs, and I’ve gotten out a lot of the old equipment.”
11. “I’ve always felt that with true talent, and a commitment to hard work, it is possible to achieve enduring respect and appreciation. In other words, I don’t take my fans for granted.”
12. “I wrote that song for my wife, and it’s what some guy who’s sitting under a tree would be singing to the woman of his life, telling her how wonderful she is. To me, that’s more lasting than something that sounds like it belongs on a movie soundtrack.”
13. “I work hard at that, but the fact that there are a lot of good songs means there are also a lot of really bad songs I’ve written that you never hear.”
14. “I thought what I was good at doing was playing real simple guitar licks, since I’d cut my teeth on what Duane Eddy was doing; licks that were simple but had staying power.”
15. “Now that I’m older, I like almost anything that’s done well, even surf music and instrumentals.”
16. “I went pretty much for one tone, and I knew at that time that I wanted to play a Rickenbacker.”
17. “I usually destroy unreleased material. It has a way of coming back to haunt you.”
Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage