John And Tom Fogerty’s Feud Was A Real Tragedy

via Grunge / Youtube

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) dominated the pop charts, creating iconic hits like “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and “Born on the Bayou.” The band, consisting of brothers John and Tom Fogerty, along with high school friends Stu Cook and Doug Clifford, seemed unstoppable. However, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and in CCR’s case, it ended with a heartbreaking feud.

Tom Fogerty, the elder brother, was initially the leader of the band when they were known as The Golliwogs.

During this period, John started writing songs for the group, a collaboration that eventually led to him taking the reins as the lead singer, lead guitarist, and band leader. Remarkably, Tom accepted this transition gracefully, demonstrating himself as the “ultimate team player.”

CCR soared to fame with a series of hits, but tensions began brewing as John became the sole songwriter for the group. Resentment grew among his bandmates, culminating in a tense meeting that John later referred to as “The Night of the Generals.”

During this pivotal meeting, the band insisted on a democracy where everyone could write songs and sing, and all members would have equal voting power. John’s decision to perform his own backing vocals on “Proud Mary” seemed to intensify the discord. After the release of “Pendulum” in December 1970, the bandmates hired a press agent and celebrated their newfound freedom from “John’s tyranny.” However, this wasn’t enough for Tom, who left CCR less than two weeks after the album’s release.

The feud between John and his former bandmates, including his brother Tom, was further exacerbated by their strained relationship with Saul Zaentz, the head of Fantasy Records, the label that released CCR’s albums.

John believed Tom’s alignment with Zaentz played a significant role in their ongoing conflict.

John made several attempts to reconcile with Tom, especially for the sake of their mother. Yet, these efforts proved futile, in part because Tom remained loyal to Zaentz even as his health declined. Tom Fogerty passed away from AIDS-related tuberculosis in 1990, at the age of 48, and his estrangement from John persisted until his death.

In his autobiography, “Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music,” John expressed regret that they couldn’t mend their relationship while Tom was alive. He later forgave his brother and believes that wherever Tom is, he knows that everything is alright now. The feud between the Fogerty brothers remains a tragic chapter in rock ‘n’ roll history, a reminder of how even the closest bonds can unravel in the face of fame and personal differences.