“I’m the dad [of these songs],” John Fogerty said, and now the fortunate dad is bringing his songs home. As Billboard reports, Fogerty has purchased a majority interest in the Creedence Clearwater Revival catalog after a more than 40-year fight.
Fogerty relinquished the rights to Saul Zaentz’s Fantasy Records in 1980 in order to get out of an onerous contract, which he had signed in 1968. Zaentz is a famous, if not infamous, figure in entertainment. While, as Fogerty said, “I tried really hard” to get the CCR catalog back, Zaentz played hardball, even going so far as to sue Fogerty for plagiarism (he lost). Zaentz also used CCR royalties to finance a string of successful films, including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, and The English Patient, all of which won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Concord bought Fantasy Records in 2004, and as a good-faith gesture, restored Fogerty’s artist royalties. Fogerty was set to regain another portion of the US rights under US copyright law when the songs turned 56-years-old, and his wife and manager Julie Fogerty took advantage of that leverage to negotiate for majority control of worldwide rights as well.
“While John is having the time of his life out there on the road, with his kids playing with him and celebrating this music, [I thought], why can’t we take those few years left [before the titles revert] and not have them give them to us, but we’ll buy them,” Julie said. “Whatever the value plus a little bonus. We’ll figure out how to come up with the money and we’ll just buy that. [Concord’s] not going to lose because they’ll have the value.”
The deal closed for an undisclosed sum and includes many of the most indelible hits in rock history, including “Fortunate Son,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Proud Mary,” “Down on the Corner,” “Up Around the Bend,” “Green River,” and more.
The purchase makes Fogerty an outlier among his peers. Springsteen recently sold his catalog for $500 million, Bob Dylan did the same for $300 million, and Neil Young parted with 50% of his rights in 2021.
Even so, Fogerty would have liked to acquire full control of the catalog instead of just a majority stake. “The happiest way to look at it is, yeah, it isn’t everything,” he said. “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 has a run of festival appearances set for 2023, including BeachLife in May. Tickets are available here.