Friday, October 25, 2019

50 years ago: Creedence Clearwater Revival “Fortunate Son” charted

Fortunate Son

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Writer(s): John Fogerty (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 25, 1969

Peak: 3 US, 6 CB, 2 GR, 4 HR, 1 CL, 2 CN, 2 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.6 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 351.9 video, 1027.11 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Although Creedence Clearwater Revival were from the Bay area, the band didn’t fit the San Francisco scene. Instead of “unfocused and rambling jams” TC CCR were knocking out “astounding, powerful 45s.” TC Lead singer John Fogerty was from a dysfunctional working-class family, so when he wrote “Fortunate Son” it wasn’t “just another hippie anti-war song” TC but “one of the greatest class-consciousness songs to ever become a hit record.” NRR

It “was written with middle finger in full flight to the Nixon administration, the legacy of the ‘silver spoon in hand’ kids, and the contradictions and struggles of a wartime America.” UCR The band’s audience “was precisely the kind of white kids who were in the Vietnam jungles.” TC “In just two and a half minutes, Creedence Clearwater Revival spit out enough venom via ‘Fortunate Son’ to disarm, or at least disorient the enemy.” UCR “The simplicity, urgency and direct message of ‘Fortunate Son’ speaks volumes. In its own way, it’s as punk rock as punk rock ever got.” UCR

“That being said, even if you take the politics out of it, ‘Fortunate Son’ remains one hell of a record.” UCR “One of John Fogerty‘s best vocals sends the song through the roof.” UCR “John practically spits out the words ‘It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one.’” NRR

John has said he could have done better on the song. “I always thought my singing was a little lacking…I went in to do two songs that day. The first one was ‘Down on the Corner.’ I sang all of the background parts, and then sang the lead. Then with the time we had left at that session, I said: ‘OK, let ‘er rip!’ and I sang the lead on ‘Fortunate Son.’ I’ve just always thought that I maybe should have started with that one that day.” NRR

The song was released as a double-A-sided single with “Down on the Corner” and reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It wasn’t their first trip to the upper eschelon of the charts; they’d previously reached #2 on three occasions with “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and “Green River.” The song appeared on Willy and the Poor Boys, the band’s third album release in 1969 and third consecutive multi-platinum, top-10 album.


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First posted 8/3/2022; last updated 7/14/2023.

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