John Fogerty gains control of Creedence Clearwater Revival catalogue

Creedence Clearwater Revival haven’t been an active band for over 50 years, but their catalogue is still one of the most popular in the history of classic rock. It would seem logical that John Fogerty, the sole writer of nearly every CCR song, would have ownership over the rights to those songs, but for decades now, that hasn’t been the case.

You see, Creedence were signed to Fantasy Records, a label owned by future movie producer Saul Zaentz. After the band broke up, Fogerty was still under contract with Zaentz, which Fogerty tried to fight in court. Fogerty signed away his publishing rights and royalties to the CCR catalogue in 1980 to get out of his contract with Fantasy.

Fogerty and Zaentz began a nearly-endless cycle of lawsuits in the following years. Meanwhile, Fogerty’s bandmates (including his brother, Tom Fogerty) sided with Zaentz. When the elder Fogerty brother died in 1990, he reportedly still sided with Zaentz while on his deathbed. CCR’s rhythm section formed Creedence Clearwater Revisited in 1995.

Meanwhile, John Fogerty refused to play his biggest CCR hits for years out of lingering spite against Zaentz. In 2004, Concord Records bought Fantasy and reinstated Fogerty’s royalties at a higher rate. Zaentz died in 2014. Now, Billboard is reporting that Fogerty has bought a majority share of his copyrights from Concord.

“I’m the dad [of these songs]. I created them,” Fogerty writes. “They never should have been taken away in the first place. And that hijacking left such a massive hole in me… The happiest way to look at it is, yeah, it isn’t everything. It’s not a 100% win for me, but it’s sure better than it was. I’m really kind of still in shock. I haven’t allowed my brain to really, actually, start feeling it yet.”

Fogerty’s actions come as more and more artists begin selling off the rights to their catalogues to music publishing companies. Granted, Fogerty’s case is more personal than most of the other cases, and a moral victory and name ownership likely mean more to him than any payout could.

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