Saturday, September 23, 2017

"The Old Man Down the Road" by John Fogerty

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2171
Date:  12/22/1984
Debut:  61
Peak:  10
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  When his former band Creedence Clearwater Revival broke up in 1972, lead singer/songwriter Fogerty set out on a solo career. His first effort was a solo album that he credited to a fake band called The Blue Ridge Rangers. It was mainly a covers album and it spawned the #16 hit "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)." He dropped the fake moniker for his self-titled follow-up, which included the #27 entry "Rockin' All Over the World." After an aborted third album along with legal issue with his label, it would take nearly a decade before Fogerty would return with a proper new album. Centerfield would arrive in January of '85, but it was preceded by this first single. Rock radio jumped on the new tune and it would end up reaching #1 on that chart. It took a bit longer for Pop to catch on, but it got enough traction to just barely make the Top 10. It would be Fogerty's first and only single to reach the Pop Top 10. The tune also made it to #33 at AC. The return of Fogerty and the hit single helped the album reach #1. It would eventually sell over 2 million copies.

ReduxReview:  I have to admit that this one had to grow on me. CCR was never a favorite of mine and this jangly blues-rock with a nearly monotone verse didn't really thrill me. But there was something about it that started to sneak in my brain and it kind of stuck. When it would come on the radio I would soon find my head bobbin' in rhythm and I'd have to sing "hidey-hide" and "jump and run." I do think it is a bit of a slight song with not much to it, but Fogerty sells it well enough to make it work.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Fogerty was no stranger to legal music business tangles so it wasn't all that shocking when he got sued for this song and another one on the album. The song "Zanz Kant Danz" was a bit of a skewering of Fogerty's former label (Fantasy) head Saul Zaentz. Zaentz didn't appreciate it and sued for defamation. To alleviate the situation, Fogerty change the name in the song to Vanz and the title to "Vanz Kant Danz." All issues of the LP after about the first three months of the initial release adapted to the change and it still remains that way today. The second lawsuit also came from Zaentz regarding this song. In order to get out of his contract with Fantasy, Fogerty relinquished his rights to the CCR catalog. With control of those songs now with Zaentz, he heard this new tune and thought it sounded like the 1970 CCR song (written by Fogerty) "Run Through the Jungle." Zaentz sued Fogerty for plagiarism and copyright infringement. Fogerty successfully defended himself and won the case. Fogerty then turned and sued Zaentz for the legal fees Fogerty racked up for his defense. Initially, Fogerty lost his case, but it went the the US Supreme Court and they found in favor of Fogerty.


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