Friday, March 9, 2018

"Centerfield" by John Fogerty

Song#:  2337
Date:  05/25/1985
Debut:  71
Peak:  44
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  With a #1 album and two Pop Top 20 singles, Fogerty's return to recorded music after years of legal battles was a major success. While all of that would have been enough to cement Fogerty's solo legacy, it would be this third single that would outlast the album, its other singles, and eventually Fogerty himself. This title track song initially started out as the b-side to his #20 hit "Rock and Roll Girls," but after it started to receive spins at radio, the single turned into a double-sided hit with this song getting to #4 at Rock and #17 AC while stopping just shy of the Pop Top 40. If this was just a regular b-side entry, it might have had its day in the sun and then just faded to being an interesting entry in the artist's catalog. However, due to the subject of the song, it ended up with a life of its own that has continued through to today (and will continue for decades to come).

ReduxReview:  This is like Fogerty's eternal seasonal song except instead of Christmas the subject is baseball. Most any songwriter or publisher will tell you that having a hit holiday tune that gets a massive amount of airplay and usage during the season is absolute gold. It will be a consistent money maker for decades. I worked with an artist who didn't write their most well-known/used Xmas tune, but kept the publishing rights. He said it was one of the smartest things he did because the song generates a ton of money every holiday. So for Fogerty to do the same thing with a non-holiday song is pretty awesome. As for the song itself, it's just okay for me. I wouldn't go out of my way to hear it. However, if I attend a baseball game and hear it, in that context the song is great. You know exactly what's coming when you hear those hand claps and it hooks you in. As a radio single?  Meh.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Fogerty wrote this song based on his love of baseball and childhood memories of the game. At the time, Fogerty didn't know if this song would work or not. Sports themed songs and rock music didn't necessarily cross paths, so he was expecting a bit of backlash once the tune came out. To his surprise, not only did the song start to catch on at radio, it started to get airplay at a few ballparks. Over the years, the number of baseball teams and parks that have continually used the song has grown. It now ranks right alongside "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" as one of the most played and recognized songs used at baseball games of all levels. It has become such a standard for the sport that on the 25th anniversary of the song's release, it and Fogerty were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Fogerty performed the song at the ceremonies that year (2010) and donated his baseball bat-shaped guitar. It was the first time a musician or even a song was inducted.


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