Classic Rocker Bucks Trend and Wins Epic Legal Battle to Keep Ownership of His Songs

Following a legal battle that stretched out over half a century, John Fogerty finally owns the global publishing rights to the songs he wrote for Creedence Clearwater Revival so many years ago.

Fogerty, 77, was at last allowed to purchase a majority stake in the rights to the songs he wrote and sang for the short-lived but iconic band from Concord Records, which has owned the rights since 2004.

Fogerty now owns a majority interest in 65 CCR copyrights, including hits like “Bad Moon Rising,” “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” “Proud Mary,” “Down on the Corner” and “Fortunate Son.”

The prolific rocker, who still enjoys a robust solo career, founded CCR in 1968, alongside his older brother Tom, Doug Clifford and Stu Cook, and served as the rock band’s lead singer, lead guitarist and principal songwriter until the band broke up in 1972. But, the bad blood had already soiled the Fogerty brothers’ relationship … Tom quit the band in 1971 due to him and his little brother constantly feuding.

“Tom ended up over the years evolving mentally into some sort of weird Patti Hearst syndrome,” the younger Fogerty said to Rock and Roll Garage magazine in 2020. “That’s what I call it when they kidnap you and you end up siding with your captors, and that’s what Tom did. In some trick of mental agility, he ended up befriending Saul Zaentz against me. By the end of his life Tom was saying ‘Saul is my best friend’. He even wrote me nasty letters saying things like ‘Saul and I will win’. It was very unresolved and very sad.”

The Berkely-born quartet was responsible for spearheading the “Swamp Rock” movement in music and produced nine top-10 singles and five top-10 albums on the Billboard charts, even outselling the Beatles in 1969, despite being together for such a short run.

The 50-year legal battle is legendary in music industry circles and has served as a warning sign for the bare nastiness involved in the business and demonstrates the gravity of greed responsible for the demise of so many bands from that era.

Fogerty was just a teenager when he signed the original deal with movie producer Saul Zaentz’s Fantasy Records and has remained the face (and voice) of CCR to fans despite receiving no ownership over the rights. Fogerty eventually split with his bandmates over the issue; relinquishing his rights in 1980 in order to get out of his contract with the record label.

The mudslinging, betrayal and bad blood started almost immediately after Fogerty bailed on the band to embark on what would be (and still is) a legendary solo career, while his own brother, Tom, as well as Clifford and Cook, sided with Zaentz until Tom’s death in 1990.