The one Creedence Clearwater Revival song that everybody gets wrong

In the midst of the Summer of Love, Creedence Clearwater Revival was the band that practically anyone could enjoy. Whether fans were more into country music or wanted to just hear a loud guitar, chances are John Fogerty had them covered, often making songs that had much more depth than most other folk-tinged rock and roll on the radio at the time. Though Fogerty might have been prolific with his pen, that didn’t mean that every one of his songs got interpreted the same way.

For years, the CCR song ‘Fortunate Son’ has been the glorified theme song from the Vietnam War era of America, often soundtracking the battle sequences of young soldiers going into the jungle with little hope for survival. When Fogerty was writing the song, he was advocating for the exact opposite idea.

Long before choosing music as his lifelong passion, Fogerty was originally going to be drafted before finding out that he hadn’t been selected, eventually going home and writing future classics like ‘Proud Mary’ and ‘Bad Moon Rising’. As the war began to get uglier by the day, though, ‘Fortunate Son’ was Fogerty’s knee-jerk reaction to seeing the carnage happening half a world away.

Although some people zero in on the lyrics about the folks born made to wave the flag, Fogerty is adamant in saying that he doesn’t want to be that kind of blind patriot. Since most of the country was being indoctrinated with political propaganda to rally against the enemy, Fogerty sees through every plastic smile in this song, pointing to all of the actors born to become puppets for what the government wants their citizens to do.

That’s before Fogerty even gets to the higher-ups in Washington, where he calls out the hypocrisy that was going on in the Oval Office. As much as these young kids may have wanted to serve their country in whatever way they knew how, the lyrics hold nothing back when it comes to the dark side of politics, where most men in tight suits use their citizens like political pawns, promising them the world but getting little in return.

It’s not like Fogerty was off the mark in his assumption, either. While music festivals like Woodstock were going on at the time, the end of the war brought with it nothing but pain for those who survived, with anti-war activists spitting on men who went to fight a war they never wanted to fight in the first place and not given proper help when it came to their mental struggles.

The power of art is always in the eye of the beholder, though, and Fogerty was shocked to find out politicians were using the song as a patriotic rallying song, going so far as to issue a cease and desist letter to the Trump administration when they tried to use it as part of his campaign trail. Some of the biggest names in politics may have grown up with that silver spoon in their hand, but there’s nothing fortunate about those on the war grounds.

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