The Old Man Down The Road – John Fogerty

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………….on March 23rd of 1985 former Creedence Clearwater Revival front man John Fogerty went to #1 on the US album chart with his third solo LP, “Centerfield”. Using over-dubbing, Fogerty played all of the instruments on every track. The RIAA has since certified the album Double-Platinum (2 million album sales) on the strength of the hit singles “The Old Man Down the Road”, “Rock and Roll Girls” and the title track. “The Old Man Down The Road” deals with John Fogerty’s extensive legal troubles, which weighed on him for over a decade. An early contract he signed forced him to relinquish the rights to his Creedence Clearwater Revival songs but at the same time obligated him to keep recording. After the band broke up, he was so disillusioned with the industry that he refused to play the Creedence songs, in part because so many of them were joyful tunes, and he was feeling anything but. The first single from John Fogerty’s Centerfield album, this was his first big hit as a solo artist. Fogerty was the driving force of Creedence Clearwater Revival, which broke up in 1972. He released solo albums in 1973 and 1975, then took 10 years away from recording because of legal battles and also because he was enjoying life on his farm. Saul Zaentz, who owned the publishing rights to the Creedence Clearwater Revival songs, sued Fogerty, claiming “The Old Man Down The Road” sounded too much like the 1970 Creedence song “Run Through The Jungle.” This bizarre lawsuit may have been the first time an artist was sued for plagiarizing himself. The case went to a jury and was eventually dismissed in Fogerty’s favor, although appeals kept the case alive until 1993. A frustrated Fogerty even refused to play any Creedence songs on his 1986 tour. This song not only revived Fogerty’s career, but it also gave him a presence on MTV where he gained a whole new following. The video was directed by Mick Haggerty, who did many of the Hall & Oates clips. The song peaked at #10 in the US.