Why John Fogerty Stopped Playing Creedence Clearwater Revival Songs Live

John Fogerty’s solo career has rivaled his work with Creedence Clearwater Revival. He’s delivered hits like “The Old Man Down The Road” and “Rock And Roll Girls” all on his own. However, his time with the legendary roots rock band also yielded some incredible music. And unfortunately for Fogerty, there was a time when he didn’t even want to perform CCR songs live because he did not actually own them.

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So what happened? It all comes down to shady contracts and corporate greed.

Why John Fogerty Couldn’t Play CCR Songs Live

As of today, John Fogerty is finally able to play CCR songs live. But it took decades for him to actually get to that point.

In 2023, Fogerty officially gained control over his CCR compositions by purchasing a majority interest in the catalog’s publishing rights from Concord; including the hit track “Fortunate Son”. The amount of money he had to pay to get the songs hasn’t been revealed, but we can only assume it was a lot.

Unfortunately, Concord still has rights to CCR’s masters and will be responsible for administering the singer’s share of publishing for a while, and the exact timeframe isn’t clear.

Fogerty tried for years to gain the rights to CCR’s music after signing off a recording/publishing contract with Saul Zaentz’s Fantasy Records (now owned by Concord) back in 1968. Fogerty managed to terminate the deal, but had to give up his royalties to do so.

“I found myself in the horrible position of having to give any new music, any new records, to Saul Zaentz,” Fogerty said in a 2019 interview. “That was why I stopped.”

John Fogerty and Zaentz fought bitterly over the rights to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s songs, with the latter going as far as to sue Fogerty for plagiarizing his own music in the 1980s. Zaentz passed away in 2014, but that wasn’t the end of the whole fiasco.

[See John Fogerty Live In 2024]

Fogerty could have simply waited to receive the rights to the songs. However, doing so would not have included rights outside of the United States. So, he managed to buy the copyrights to songs he wrote for the band from 1969 to 1972.

“I created [these songs]… they never should have been taken away in the first place,” Fogerty said. “And that hijacking left such a massive hole in me. The happiest way to look at it is, yeah, it isn’t everything. It’s not a 100% win for me, but it’s better than it was.”

Today, Fogerty can perform CCR songs without worrying about lawsuits. And definitely without filling the pockets of the original record company. It took decades, but now CCR fans can finally hear their top hits straight from the man himself!  

Photo by Frazer Harrison

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