John Fogerty’s relationship to music goes back a long ways, even before he was able to speak.
“There is a story my mom tells me that she went to a Beethoven concert when she was pregnant with me and that I was really enjoying Beethoven because I was kicking up a storm to the music, said Fogerty. “My relationship to the music all these years, it has been my best friend.”
Fogerty will be in Penticton Nov. 27 with his 1969 tour, celebrating his love of music and a remarkable year, both for the world and for his band, Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Many things happened in 1969 to make it a year to remember. It was the year man first set foot on the moon, and the year Max Yazgur’s farm in Woodstock, New York became the centre of the music world for three days.
It’s also the year that CCR produced three hit records: Bayou Country, Green River and Willy and the Poor Boys.
“That year was very remarkable in my life and my band’s career, but I dare say it was one of the more remarkable career years that anyone ever had,” said Fogerty, the band’s principal songwriter. “Three albums that all did very well, were played on the radio, a lot of hit singles.”
When it comes to milestone years, it would be hard to match 1969 for Fogerty. That’s why this year, as he celebrates his 69th year on earth, he decided to look back on that incredible year.
“My wife came up with this, why don’t we celebrate this with a tour, actually make the show around that,” said Fogerty. “It’s a privilege really. I was fortunate enough in those times to have written songs that have remained popular.”
Popular is a bit of an understatement for songs like Proud Mary, off the Bayou Country album, which has been covered more than a hundred times by bands in the 45 years since it was released.
Fogerty said he still loves to play those old songs, but tries to make Proud Mary sound just like it did all those years ago.
“I get to play Suzie Q, maybe I change up some of the improvisational parts a little bit. But Proud Mary, as much as I can, I try to play that exactly the way I recorded it all those years ago,” said Fogerty. “I love playing that solo, exactly as I played it and recorded it then.”
For younger musicians, it’s a question of where they draw their influences from. But for a legend like Fogerty, the list of musicians he has influenced is a long one.
“I am very honoured by that. It’s flattering, I am glad they find some value in my music, the way I found value in the music of people that influenced me. I certainly know what that feeling is like,” said Fogerty, who lists Steve Cropper — of Booker T. & the M.G.’s fame and 39th on the Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time — as one of his influences.
“You hear somebody do something when you are young and you go oh, how does he make it sound like that? As you grow, you try to imitate that or emulate it’s part of the process of becoming a good musician and I am just happy that people find value in my music,” said Fogerty.
The focus of the concert is 1969, with video and visual inspiration from those times backing up Fogerty’s singing. Expect to hear songs from all three of Creedence’s 1969 albums, including hits like Proud Mary, Born on the Bayou, Bad Moon Rising, Down on the Corner and Fortunate Son.
“The focus and inspiration is from that time. Certainly, I will speak a bit about that time. And a few of the things that were going on and some of the lessons from that time,” said Fogerty. “But also, I want the borders to blur a little. Life has gone on and I have some other songs that were written and recorded later.”
Fogerty also said he’s looking forward to his first visit to the Okanagan.
“I am looking forward to being able to enjoy the place. I hope I get enough free time, to kind of mosey around and take a look,” he said. “I really love getting out to all the venues around the world and getting to see my fans.”