John Fogerty Recalls ‘Intense’ Experience of Writing ‘Fortunate Son’
John Fogerty recalled the “intense” experience of writing 1969 hit “Fortunate Son,” which appeared on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s fourth album Willy and the Poor Boys.
He’s previously discussed how the lyrics were inspired by the sense of unfairness around the Vietnam war, where some children of influential people were granted deferment from the draft – an opportunity denied to most others. He found it easy to write because his feelings on the matter were so strong, as he told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show.
“‘Fortunate Son’ was certainly one of the quickest songs I ever wrote,” Fogerty said. “I had the title. I was in the process of showing the band, each day, the music, and we were working up the music … We were kinda getting near where I thought, ‘We’re gonna have this song ready to record – I better actually have the words and stuff.’
“I went into my bedroom, sat on the edge of the bed with one of those yellow tablets, and it just sorta poured out in about 20 minutes. It came almost verbatim right out of my brain, in the sense that there was no editing or changing or going this way or that. It was pretty intense, how I felt, and it went right there onto the paper and into the song.”
Reflecting on the track’s legacy, he said, “I was really just trying to state how I felt right then. You know, I don’t think you ever realize where things are gonna go, if they’re gonna be popular or not. You can never judge that or count on that. Just the time that you think, ‘I’ve got this one figured out,’ you suddenly fall into a big hole.”
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