One of the ugliest and most-publicized legal battles in rock history appears to have reached a desirable conclusion for John Fogerty. The famed singer and guitarist wrote a majority of the classic songs recorded over half a century ago by the prolific band Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), which released seven albums in just five years (1968- 1972). However, the group's contract with the late Fantasy Records owner Saul Zaentz, which Fogerty inked as a teenager, basically signed away the artist's rights to his own songs.
"As of this January, I own my own songs again," Fogerty shared in a Jan. 12 tweet. "This is something I thought would never be a possibility. After 50 years, I am finally reunited with my songs. I also have a say in where and how my songs are used. Up until this year, that is something I have never been able to do."
Fogerty's "how my songs are used" reference points to the times when CCR standards were placed in films and commercial ads against his will and to the financial benefit of his former label boss.
"Folks will remember Forrest Gump and that was a great movie, but they don't remember all the really poor movies that Fantasy Records stuck Creedence music into: car commercials, tire commercials," Fogerty told NPR in 2005. "I'm remembering a paint thinner ad at one point, the song 'Who'll Stop the Rain.' Oh, boy. That's clever, isn't it?"
Fogerty lost even more legal leeway when he relinquished songwriter royalties in 1980 to get out of his Fantasy contract and pursue a solo career. His legal situation even found him unsuccessfully sued by Fantasy for plagiarizing himself over the perception that his 1985 solo effort "The Old Man Down the Road" lifted the chorus of CCR's "Run Through the Jungle."
Publishing company Concord Records restored some of Fogerty's royalties upon its 2004 purchase of Fantasy Records. A new deal between Fogerty's team and Concord —the cost of which has not been disclosed— grants him majority interest in the songs he wrote for CCR.
"The happiest way to look at it is, yeah, it isn't everything," Fogerty said (as quoted by Variety). "It's not a 100 percent win for me, but it's sure better than it was. I'm really kind of still in shock. I haven't allowed my brain to really, actually, start feeling it yet."
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