John Fogerty Tops the Charts with 1985 Solo Album Centerfield

John Fogerty Tops the Charts with 1985 Solo Album Centerfield

At this time in 1985, lead singer of Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty, was at the top of the charts with his third solo studio effort, Centerfield.

After the band broke up in 1972, leaving the members embroiled in legal battles over business and creative control, John Fogerty prepared another lawsuit for his prior record label, Fantasy Records. Unfortunately, the label owned Fogerty’s career until he produced eight studio albums for them which he refused to do, putting all of his music on hold until Asylum Records bought out his contract for over $1 million.

Once more free to pursue his musical career, John Fogerty released one self-titled album under Asylum, though they rejected his next album, Hoodoo, causing Fogerty to decide to take a break from the music industry. Eventually he fell in with Warner Brothers and with their help released Centerfield. The album performed extremely well, shooting to the top of the charts in the US and Sweden, and gaining high positions in many other countries charts, including number four over here in Australia. Critically, the album couldn’t have fared much better, with almost all publications praising the release and Fogerty’s impeccable songwriting skill.

The album was written and played entirely by John Fogerty, with the use of overdubbing to enable him to record multiple instruments. Unfortunately, this didn’t aid him when former Fantasy label boss Saul Zaentz sued him for copyright infringement, claiming the chorus on Centerfield’s “The Old Man Down the Road” was the same as one of Fogerty’s earlier recordings with Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Run Through The Jungle”. The case fell apart, however, when Fogerty took his guitar to the courtroom and made the differences clear. He subsequently launched a counter-case against Zaentz which he won easily.

It certainly seems that Zaentz acted as Fogerty’s nemesis, trying to block and obstruct his solo career at almost every turn. Fogerty was happy to fight back in most cases, such as recording “Zanz Kant Danz” which had to be re-titled to avoid a defamation lawsuit from the label boss. Ultimately though, no matter the attempts to sabotage or derail his career, John Fogerty was never distracted from his main goal – to make good music, and Centerfield stands as one of the proudest icons of this difficult and treacherous career.

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