John Fogerty, arguably the most famous member of the classic rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival, is just as famous for being a legendary song-writing and performer as is he is for being an icon of the problems that can come between artist and industry.
Creedence Clearwater Revival is best known for its late 60s/early 70s hits such as “Proud Mary,” “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” “Bad Moon Rising” and many more.
Responsible for writing these songs was John Fogerty, also lead singer and lead guitarist. At the time of the band’s peak in success, it was attached to the record label Fantasy, Inc.
When the band dismembered in 1972, Fogerty decided to embark on a solo career and consequentially pursued a different record label.
In one of the most bizarre copy right cases ever to exist, Fantasy, Inc., which now had the rights to Fogerty’s previous songs, sued Fogerty over “self-plagiarism,” claiming a song he wrote during his solo career- “An Old Man Down the Road-“was too similar to a song he had previously written and that they now owned: “Run Through the Jungle.”
While Fantasy, Inc lost the case, the battle was not nearly close to being over.
Because in copy right cases awarding attorney fee’s is a discretionary practice, Fogerty was left to foot the bill for the court fees he endured while fighting Fantasy’s suit despite winning in the end.
As a result, Fogerty took the case to the Supreme Court, where it was upheld that the courts had the right to deny Fogerty attorney fees from Fantasy, Inc. because it could not be determined that “Fantasy’s infringement suit was…brought frivolously or in bad faith as required by circuit precedent for an award of attorney’s fees to a successful defendant.”
This mess all translated to more lost time for Fogerty, taking precious moments away from his ability to be working on his solo music.
In addition to warring with his former label, Fogerty also grew distant from and eventually became enemies of his former band members, including his own brother, Tom, who has since passed.
Currently, former members Stu Cook and Doug Clifford perform Creedence hits under the name “Creedence Clearwater Revisted,” which has spawned its own share of legal battles and litigation since they launched the project in 1995.
Since the band’s dismemberment, relations between Fogerty and the former members have been strictly tied to court room battles and fights over royalties, with the most recent filing to come from Fogerty seeking out unpaid royalties stemming back to December 2011. This happened in July 2018.
As a brilliant band with several talented influences leading to its early success, the legal battles have caused The Guardian to called the story of CCR “the “saddest story in rock.”
Despite all of the legal battles and legal fees, John Fogerty’s inherent talent as a songwriter, singer and guitarist has helped him accrue quite an impressive net worth over the decades. Clearly, pursuing his due royalties has helped him significantly.
John Fogerty’s net worth is rumored to stand at $70,000,000.