John Fogerty Memoir Due in 2014
Little, Brown has picked up rights to the former Creedence frontman's book, which will follow recent tomes by the likes of Neil Young, Pete Townshend and Gregg Allman.
Don’t look now, but John Fogerty is the latest rock star to join the book club.
Little, Brown and Co. said Monday that it has acquired the singer, songwriter and former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman’s memoir, set for publication in 2014.
Following tomes published this year by the likes of Neil Young, Pete Townshend and Gregg Allman, the book will chronicle CCR’s early days through its rise to one of the world’s most popular bands and its abrupt split in 1972. Among the topics will be the pressures of sudden fame and his famously rocky relationship with his bandmates, including brother Tom Fogerty, who quit the group in 1971 and died in 1990 at 48.
Also sure to make for interesting reading is Fogerty’s side of the legal battles he fought with Creedence’s label Fantasy Records, which owned the rights to his songs. The label was run by Saul Zaentz, the singer’s longtime nemesis who went on the win three best picture Oscars as the producer of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus and The English Patient. What started as a dispute over creative control and royalties over Creedence music years later would fester into a $140 million defamation and plagiarism suit filed by Zaentz over songs on Fogerty’s 1985 comeback album Centerfield.
A jury ultimately decided in Fogerty's favor, but the ensuing battle over his attorney fees went all the way to the Supreme Court. The justices sided with Fogerty in 1994.
The post-Creedence legal fight and Fogerty’s ensuing financial woes led to a long period of musical inactivity for the once-prolific singer-songwriter-guitarist-producer. Not helping matters was Asylum Records’ refusal to release his completed 1976 solo album Hoodoo, despite its jackets already have been printed. A few weeks before its scheduled street date, label executives deemed the songs not to be up to the singer’s standards.
And high standards they were. Creedence Clearwater Revival put out seven LPs in four years, generating such rock classics as “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Fortunate Son,” “Down on the Corner” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.” The iconoclastic Bay Area quartet sent nine singles to the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100, including five that peaked at No. 2 -- the most of any act without hitting No. 1. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
And Fogerty’s solo career has seen remarkable highs and lows. A decade after his eponymous first Asylum solo record was a commercial disappointment, he stormed back with Centerfield, which topped the Billboard 200 and spawned the Top 10 single “The Old Man Down the Road.” Zaentz claimed that song copped its riff from Creedence’s Fogerty-penned hit “Run Through the Jungle,” the rights to which Zaentz controlled. He also sued over the album’s “Zanz Kant Dance,” which contained the repeated lyric, “Zanz can’t dance but he’ll steal your money/Watch him or he’ll rob you blind.”
After Fogerty’s 1986 follow-up album Eye of the Zombie failed to match its predecessor’s commercial or critical success, his career took a back seat to the court battles, and more than a decade passed before his next album. The 1997 set Blue Moon Swamp won a Grammy for best rock album, and he embarked on a tour to support it. Late that year he shot a concert film, Premonition, that aired on VH1 and was released in 1998 on home video and as a live album. But it would be seven years before his next studio disc, Deja Vu All Over Again, which got a lukewarm reception from fans and critics.
But Fogerty found his mojo again with 2007’s Revival, which earned strong reviews and featured some of his most fiery material since the Creedence days. He most recently wrote and sang “Swamp Water,” the theme to Fox’s short-lived Bones spinoff The Finder. His next record, Wrote a Song for Everyone -- on which he collaborates on songs from his catalog with the likes of Bob Seger, Foo Fighters, Kid Rock, My Morning Jacket and Miranda Lambert -- is due next year. It will be his first album for Vanguard Records.
Little, Brown acquired world rights to Fogerty’s memoir from Laura Nolan at Paradigm Agency. The audiobook will be read by Fogerty and published simultaneously by Hachette Audio. The book will be edited by Little, Brown executive editor John Parsley.