Stung by lawsuits and loss of royalties, John Fogerty stopped performing Creedence songs until Dylan asked him at the Palomino Club in 1987
By Stephen Pate – “We’re gonna do this ah because Bob Dylan asked me to do this” said John Fogarty at the Palomino Club in 1987. It was a short intro to Proud Mary, that spoke volumes about the dirty side of the music business and about musical friendship.
For the previous 15 years, Fogerty the lead singer and songwriter in Creedence Clearwater Revival had refused to sing his own songs. He didn’t want to put money into the pocket of Fantasy Records, his old label.
When Fogerty disbanded Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1972, the band was still contractually obligated to Fantasy Records to produce more albums. To avoid paying a contract break fee, Fogerty agreed to give Fantasy the copyright royalties to all his songs, such as famous hits as Proud Mary, Bad Moon Rising and Green River.
This was not unusual. Young rock musicians often signed one-sided contracts that virtually guaranteed the record label would end up owning the copyrights.
For the next fifteen years, Fogerty was in a musical funk. He didn’t want to make Saul Zaentz the owner of Fantasy Records any richer but he was frustrating his fans who wanted to hear the old CCR hits. John Fogerty performs “Proud Mary” at the Palomino Club, after an intro of “Blue Suede Shoes” To make matters worse, the release of Old Man Down the Road in 1985 resulted in a copyright infringement lawsuit with Zaentz.
Fantasy owner Zaentz claimed the song was a re-write of Fogerty’s Run Through the Jungle, to which he owned the copyright. Fogerty won his case, which went all the way to the US Supreme Court, but there was bad blood over those songs.
The Palomino Club Jam
On 19 Feb 1987, Fogerty, Bob Dylan, George Harrison and other musical friends were hanging out at the Palomino Club, in North Hollywood, California. Up on stage was Taj Mahal and his band.
Taj Mahal invited Dylan and the boys to come up and jam. Prior to that Dylan had been arguing with Fogerty that he needed to perform those songs despite the copyright issues. Dylan had his own run-ins with copyright when his former manager Albert Grossman.
Grossman got Dylan into a contract that paid the majority of the money to Grossman not Dylan.
There has been a story floating around that Dylan told Fogerty “that he must start playing “Proud Mary” or people would “start thinking that Ike and Tina Turner wrote it”.
Yesterday I found the bootleg video of that exact moment at the Palomino Club when Fogerty played Proud Mary on stage and gave Dylan credit.
“We’re gonna do this ah because Bob Dylan asked me to do this.”
Fogerty’s career took off after that since his fans were getting what they wanted. He also had a more positive outlook on his life and career.
When he came to Moncton in 2008 with The Eagles, Fogerty did a mixture of old and new material to the delight of the fans.
Thank goodness for bootlegs and the record of history on YouTube. Some artists and labels would push YouTube to take down material like this as a violation of copyrights.
There has to be a balance between that position and preserving historical performances for posterity. YouTube is the only place you can find the rock and roll of the 50s til now.
Fogerty returned to Fantasy records in 2004 and it is said he got a much better deal from the label’s new owner.
The featured image is the cover of a bootleg CD “John Fogerty Bob Dylan George Harrison Palomino Club.”
Most of the Palomino sessions are on YouTube. Follow me on Twitter at @sdpate You can also subscribe and receive notifications of new stories by email. We do not share your email with advertisers.