The moment George Harrison and Bob Dylan convinced John Fogerty to play his own songs
John Fogerty was one of the leading members of the growing counterculture movement as the lead singer of Creedence Clearwater Revival. However the singer, because of a dispute with the band’s record label, refused to play any of the band’s songs. Enter George Harrison and Bob Dylan.
In 1987, Taj Mahal and the Graffiti Band, featuring none other than Jesse Ed Davis on guitar were performing a set when Harrison, Dylan and Fogerty entered the little ol’ Palomino Club in North Hollywood. The trio would end up on stage and making Fogerty return to some of his old tracks.
The night wouldn’t only offer Fogerty the chance to reconnect with his songs but also fora reunion of sorts. Dylan, Davis and Harrison had previously shared the stage at the Concert For Bangladesh. While this performance wouldn’t be of the same grand foundations, it would show off what the world was missing in John Fogerty.
Fogerty had been avoiding singing his old songs following a serious breakdown of communications with his and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s label. Fantasy Records still had CCR contractually obliged to produce more albums when the band broke up. To avoid the huge contract-breaking fee Fogerty gave the label the copyright royalties to all of his songs.
It’s a situation which left Fogerty avoiding the songs he wrote himself at all costs, to avoid making Fantasy any richer than it already was off his back. That was until during the performance Dylan leaned over and said: “Hey, John, if you don’t do these tunes, the world’s going to remember ‘Proud Mary’ as Tina Turner’s song.”
In an interview with Uncut, Fogerty recalled: “Dylan’s words were very provocative, and he certainly put the bee in my bonnet, you could say.” Looking back at the man who wrote his neglected songs he said: “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.”
Adding: “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!’”
Luckily, Fogerty is back out on the road and making music but it all started one evening when George Harrison and Bob Dylan made him get up on stage and sing ‘Proud Mary’ for the feverish audience.