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Posted: 2008 09-30


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Chuck-Berry-meets-Neil-Young The old man down the road is rocking!

Fogerty rules the universe.  Let’s get that clear right off the bat.  His life story is worth many movies.  From being on the cover of Time to having all his royalties stolen, this guy makes Elvis look lucky for only having to go into the army.  That king never really recovered.  This royal did. 

The Old Man Down the Road was the first single on his #1 double-platinum Centerfield album in 1984.  Not only did Fogerty play every instrument, but the song’s video was also an industry buzz.  If you ever saw it, you remember it – Hitchcock, Altman, Scorsese, whatever, the song-long shot following the guitar cord from its amp in the bayou to the old man down the road – being Fogerty in the video (but certainly not the song). 
Not only did Saul Zantz essentially steal all Fogerty’s Creedence royalties, he then sued John over this song!  Not only did Fogerty win, but his counter-suit to Zantz to pay his attorney’s fees over a frivolous lawsuit went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, who rendered a Landmark decision in favor of those wrongly sued. 
A song about a creepy old man down the road
This was actually the second time Zantz sued him.  The other was over the brilliant and eye-poking Vanz [Zanz] Can’t Dance song, proving Fogerty is not a guy you want to cross.  “Paging John Lennon.” And p.s. if you know of a live version of Vanz, do share. 
And in all great karmicness, this wonderful Old Man went to #1 for 3 weeks. 
Listen to the opening riff (at :43, after the band intros) and hear why it’s a crime John Fogerty isn’t mentioned in any first sentence about the greatest rock n roll songwriters.  He’s doing it today (see 2009 “Revival” disk), he did it in the beginning with Creedence, and he wrote this (and several other hits) in this middle period. 
It’s only because this is an encore that he plays that uncharacteristically long solo.  Fogerty’s genius is not his dexterity per se but his tasteful, unique, and phat guitar sound, and the caramel-howling soul of his voice. 
Creedence were the very first band the promoters of Woodstock secured for their festival.  Not only did they release TWO Greatest Hits albums, but every song on each was actually a hit.  And in this clip you experience the joy of this Chuck Berry-meets-Neil Young plaid-clad rocker and emotive showman.  If he’s playing in a town near you, do not miss seeing him live. 

YouTube Uploader: zanzkantdance

John Fogerty performs this classic from Centerfield at Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin, TX on 9/27/08. Because of time, it is a shorter, abbreviated version without the last verse.

Also band introductions

Retrieved from Wikipedia:
The Old Man Down the Road on Wikipedia
"The Old Man Down the Road"
Single by John Fogerty
from the album Centerfield
ReleasedJanuary 15, 1985
GenreRoots rock
LabelWarner Bros.
Writer(s)John Fogerty
ProducerJohn Fogerty

"The Old Man Down the Road" is a popular song written and recorded by John Fogerty. It was released in 1985 and became a top 10 hit single, peaking at #10 on the US singles chart, and spending three weeks at the #1 spot on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart.[1] It was lifted from Fogerty's comeback album Centerfield. The video for the song, popular on MTV at the time, features an extended single camera sequence that follows an electric guitar cord through various scenes.

Fogerty v. Zaentz

See also: Fogerty v. Fantasy

Saul Zaentz, owner of Fantasy Records claimed that "The Old Man Down The Road" shared the same chorus as "Run Through The Jungle", a song from Fogerty's days with Creedence Clearwater Revival years before. (Fogerty had relinquished copy and publishing rights of his Creedence songs to Zaentz and Fantasy, in exchange for release from his contractual obligations to same.) Zaentz sued (Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty) but the defendant Fogerty ultimately prevailed when he showed that the two songs were whole, separate and distinct compositions. Bringing his guitar to the witness stand, he played excerpts from both songs, demonstrating that many songwriters (himself included) have distinctive styles that can make different compositions sound similar to less discerning ears.

After prevailing as defendant, Fogerty sued Zaentz for the cost of defending himself against the copyright infringement. In such (copyright) cases, prevailing defendants seeking recompense were bound to show that original suit was frivolous or made in bad faith. This case, Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc., became precedent when the U.S. Supreme Court (1993) overturned lower court rulings and awarded attorneys' fees to Fogerty, without Fogerty having to show that Zaentz's original suit was frivolous.

See also

  • List of number-one mainstream rock hits (United States)


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004)The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 232.

External links

  • Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics

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