by Hank Bordowitz ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 1, 1998
A doggedly researched but plodding, unambitious bio of the fondly remembered late '60s swamp-rock band. Though Creedence Clearwater Revival had nine top-ten hits and has remained perpetually popular on the radio since its 1972 demise, the group has become practically as famous for the number of lawsuits that have percolated in its wake. From early on, rock journalist Bordowitz focuses on the tensions between singer/songwriter/guitarist John Fogerty and his bandmates, as Fogerty gradually took over the band (originally called the Blue Velvets, then the Golliwogs) from his older brother, Tom, who was shunted from singing and songwriting to rhythm guitar. John rapidly emerged as both a gifted songwriter and a tyrannical leader, and Tom quit within three years of their first hit. The band fizzled out with a last album on which John Fogerty, bassist Stu Cook, and drummer Doug Clifford split singing and songwriting duties equally. Fogerty claimed he had simply acquiesced to the others' gripes about creative input, while Cook says, ""John wouldn't even play on our songs, other than rhythm guitar."" In subsequent years, Fogerty and the others fought endless legal battles with Fantasy Records, which had a cutthroat contract with the band and helped them to invest their earnings in a Bahamian banking scheme that went belly-up. Fantastically, Fantasy sued Fogerty for copyright infringement in the mid-'80s because a song on his solo album allegedly plagiarized one of the band's songs, which Fantasy owned. (Fantasy lost.) The other three members made their peace with Fantasy, and bitter public exchanges among the survivors (Tom Fogerty died in 1990) have made clear that there will never be even a one-time Creedence Clearwater reunion. Endlessly describing how Fogerty and the others ""festered along"" with recriminations, Bordowitz offers no perspective to keep the narrative momentum from slowing to a crawl in the long post-breakup half of the book.
Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1998
Page Count: 356
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1998
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