After 50 years of fighting for his songs, John Fogerty has finally regained ownership of Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s discography.
Concord acquired the band’s discography in 2004 — when they bought out Fantasy Records, owned by the late music and film mogul, Saul Zaentz — and restored CCR royalties to Fogerty in good faith that same year.
The 77-year-old would have soon had some US publishing rights restored to him under a US law that caps copyright on intellectual property at 56 years maximum, however, he and his wife Julie decided to leverage for majority control of worldwide rights too.
Speaking to Billboard about the acquisition, Fogerty said: “The happiest way to look at it is, yeah, it isn’t everything. It’s not a 100% 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.”
He also took to Twitter yesterday (January 12) to share the news, writing: “As of this January, I own my songs again.”
“This is something I thought would never be a possibility,” he said. “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.”
As of this January, I own my own songs again. 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. pic.twitter.com/UISPK8Pb4W
— John Fogerty (@John_Fogerty) January 12, 2023
Fogerty, his rhythm guitarist brother Tom, bassist Stu Cook, and drummer Doug Clifford started Creedence Clearwater Revival in El Cerrito, California, in 1959. The band released a number of hit singles during their career, including ‘Proud Mary’, ‘Fortunate Son’, ‘Bad Moon Rising’, ‘Up Around The Bend’ and ‘Have You Ever Seen The Rain’, before disbanding in 1972.
They signed to Zaentz’s Fantasy Records in 1968 under an onerous contract. In 1980, Fogerty chose to relinquish all rights to the band’s music to Zaentz in an effort to get out of it, sparking a long and bitter legal battle between the two.
This included a failed plagiarism lawsuit filed by Zaentz against Fogerty over one of the latter’s own songs that he no longer held rights for, and striking a publishing deal that eventually fell through.
Zaentz funded much of his film production career from Creedence royalties, producing 1975’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, 1984’s Amadeus and 1996’s The English Patient, which all won awards at the Oscars. He died from complications from Alzheimer’s disease in 2014.