John Fogerty philosophical after Nashville floods

Wed May 19, 2010 4:47am EDT
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Like many musicians, former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty lost some prized instruments in the recent Nashville floods.

But it could have been worse. In fact, Fogerty recalled at an awards ceremony in Beverly Hills on Tuesday that he has suffered greater calamities.

"Trust me, I love guitars and it was kind of sad to say goodbye to them," he said, referring to the submerged warehouses containing irreplaceable tools of the trade belonging to several music industry players.

"But losing a guitar is really nothing compared to losing a song, or a bunch of songs, or your life savings that was earned by those songs."

He stopped himself from elaborating, but Fogerty's woes are well known. During the late-1960s heyday of Creedence, when the California rockers ruled the charts with such songs as "Fortunate Son" and "Proud Mary," Fogerty -- the band's primary songwriter -- signed away the copyrights to his compositions.

He spent the ensuing decades in legal battles with his then-label boss, Saul Zaentz, to win back the rights, and the litigation went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The best that Fogerty got was royalty payments for his performance on the songs after Zaentz sold his interests to a label co-owned by noted Hollywood liberal Norman Lear in 2005.

Fogerty, 64, is philosophical these days about his copyright woes, and he is not alone, as the key songwriters in the Beatles and the Rolling Stones would attest.

He was speaking at the 58th annual BMI Pop Awards, during which the performing rights group honors the songwriters and publishers of the most-performed songs of the year.   Continued...