How Bob Dylan Talked John Fogerty Into Playing CCR Songs Again
Former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty recalled why he started playing his own songs after a 20-year break following a conversation with Bob Dylan, and accepted that abandoning his catalog had almost certainly harmed his career.
CCR went through an acrimonious split in 1972 after a five-year run, and Fogerty spent more than two decades distancing himself from his former bandmates and the work they’d done together. He broke his self-imposed ban on July 4, 1987, when he performed a series of CCR songs at a benefit concert for Vietnam veterans in Washington, D.C. The performance came two months after an encounter with Dylan. In his book John Fogerty: An American Son, Thomas M. Kitts wrote: “After an impromptu stage appearance on February 19. 1987 with Dylan and George Harrison at a Taj Mahal concert at the Palomino, a Los Angeles club, Dylan told Fogerty: ‘Hey, John, if you don’t do these tunes, the world’s going to remember “Proud Mary” as Tina Turner’s song.” He was referring to the success of Turner's 1971 cover version.
In a new interview with Uncut, Fogerty said: “Dylan’s words were very provocative, and he certainly put the bee in my bonnet, you could say.” Reflecting on having abandoned his material, he said of his younger self, “That guy must have had a lot on his mind. He must have been a troubled person, to make that sort of a decision. … I daresay it has harmed me in some way – I remain a bit of a mystery to a large number of people, because I wasn’t out in the world performing for about 25 years or whatever. Thankfully, I look back and think, ‘Well, I guess I’m a man of convictions, but I’m sure glad I’m over that!'”
Fogerty placed a large proportion of blame for the split on former manager Saul Zaentz, who had created a gap between the bandmates. The musician said the businessman had “tried to throw me in a dungeon." “Rather than trying to hoodwink me with a contract, he was trying to have me feel the pain of the shackles,” he noted. “I still wake up in a sweat at night” thinking about his former colleagues’ decision to side with Zaentz.