I have the worst headache I can remember having, so it’s kind of hard to write. So forgive me if this is short. Last year, the birthday post was about Isabelle Carre, who I have such a crush on that her picture in on my computer desktop. But I don’t have much to add about her. It has been hard to get her films on DVD. But after I write this post, I may just get back into bed and watch Romantics Anonymous.
John Fogerty is 69 today. He is such an amazing talent. Bruce Springsteen called him the “Hank Williams of our generation.” That’s about right. Everyone remembers him from Creedence Clearwater Revival, but his work has been remarkably consistent. Like most writers, those earlier songs were raw because he hadn’t yet fully developed his own style. The problem with a fully developed style is that your work is not as universal.
But first, let’s listen to what is still my favorite of his songs and one of my very favorite rock songs ever, “Fortunate Son.” What I most like about it is its pure populist anger. Compare it to the supposed populism of the Tea Party where all the anger is focused on the poor. To them, the fact that most of our elected officials in Congress are millionaires just means that they are better. The fact that government policy takes money away from the poor and gives it to the rich is just great. They’re mad at hell and they don’t know what it is they’re mad about. Fogerty is mad that poor boys are the ones sent off to fight and die in wars. And that’s even more true today than it was then.
Fogerty is unusual in that he almost never writes love songs. But this song, “Broken Down Cowboy,” from his 2007 album Revival is just that: a love song for his wife of 23 years, Julie Kramer:
Happy birthday John Fogerty!