Release Date: May 28, 2013
Record label: Vanguard
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock, American Trad Rock, Rock & Roll, Roots Rock, Heartland Rock
In the late Sixties and early Seventies, John Fogerty was rock & roll's Voice of America. On the five Top 10 LPs and seven straight Top Five singles that he wrote, sang and produced with Creedence Clearwater Revival from late 1968 to 1971, Fogerty recharged the scruffy, fundamental poetry of folk, country, blues and rockabilly with shredded-vocal passion, searing-guitar hooks and taut, incisive observations on the state of our democracy. The America in "Proud Mary," "Lodi" and "Fortunate Son" was bloodied by inequity and rough justice, yet rich in promise and bound for glory, rendered by Fogerty with a reporter's concision and a dreamer's conviction.
John Fogerty’s guests on Wrote A Song for Everyone may provide a pupu platter of genres, but the country/rock/progressive duet partners more often serve as a reminder of Fogerty’s singular potency. The far-flung vocalists also demonstrate how vast his songwriting and cultural influence is, comfortably enfolding each without losing the essence of his intent. Whether it’s the almost feral Miranda Lambert—joined for a squalling guitar solo by Tom Morello on the title track—brazenly evoking Janis Joplin on a performance country radio would never allow, or a hypnotically smooth Dawes on the fraught “Someday Never Comes,” it is Fogerty whose vocal presence stands out.
Wrote a Song for Everyone—the title seems a little quaint at first glance, but when you really stop and think about it, its audacity becomes apparent. For John Fogerty to say that he’s written a song for everyone is no small thing. After all, how many living songwriters can rightly claim such influence? Of course, Fogerty’s got every right to call his album whatever he wants, and he just so happens to have the songbook to back up the claim.
John FogertyWrote A Song For EveryoneVanguardRating: 3. 5 stars out of 5 Even though John Fogerty has penned some of the most beloved songs in rock history, he still marvels, more than five decades into his career, that he didn’t become a one-hit-wonder. Most listeners, on the other hand, marvel at just how many tunes he placed on our cultural soundtrack; between 1968 and 1972, the Fogerty-led Creedence Clearwater Revival notched 15 top-20 hits, and he’s had solo scores since.
For a good portion of his solo career, John Fogerty refused to play any of his old Creedence Clearwater Revival songs -- not because he hated them but because he was tied up in a nasty legal battle with Saul Zaentz, the head of his former record label Fantasy. After a few decades, Fogerty's position softened and he started playing the tunes in concert, then, after Concord purchased Fantasy in 2004, he celebrated CCR, first with a new hits compilation combining his old band and solo work, then eventually working his way around to Wrote a Song for Everyone, a 2013 album where he revisits many of his most popular songs with a little help from his superstar friends. Savvy guy that he is, Fogerty doesn't place all of his chips on one bet: he mixes up rock and country, old and new, dabbling just a bit in R&B and alternative folk, but preferring to stick to a tastefully weathered roots rock that suits him well.
There are few artists in rock'n'roll history as ageless as John Fogerty. His Creedence Clearwater Revival legacy remains as strong as ever — the band's label even sued Fogerty in the '80s for essentially sounding too much like himself on his solo albums — and the current resurgence of American blue-collar rock owes much to CCR's continued popularity. Wrote A Song For Everyone is a celebration of all of that, recreating many of Fogerty's best moments with special guests, on top of a couple fine new songs thrown in as a bonus.
Released on John Fogerty’s 68th birthday, Wrote A Song For Everyone is a fresh spin on a dozen tunes from the Californian’s Creedence Clearwater Revival and solo days, plus two new tracks. Fogerty brings in the great and good from rock and country music for a series of cameo duets and string-driven duels. It’s an ambitious collection with its moments of excess, but overall the roots veteran pulls it off.
Duet albums are sometimes ill-conceived efforts randomly pairing vintage artists with younger artists and exuding a sense of late career coasting. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Fogerty has certainly earned the right to coast, so it’s a pleasant surprise that this star-studded celebration of his venerable catalog of classic rock hits isn’t a perfunctory exercise in memory lane strolling. Instead, Fogerty has perfectly chosen his cast of collaborators and doesn’t shy away from mixing up the arrangements.