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Thomas M. Kitts

Popular Music:  John Fogerty

Thomas M. Kitts, College of Professional Studies, Division of English and Speech


This presentation will focus on my current research on John Fogerty, which will lead to a book entitled John Fogerty: An American Son, to be published by Routledge in early 2015. The composer of American classics like “Proud Mary,” “Fortunate Son,” “Green River,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” and “Centerfield,” Fogerty first achieved commercial success with Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1968. CCR’s songwriter, lead singer, lead guitarist, arranger, and producer, Fogerty led the band in a blistering output of 10 top-ten singles and seven gold albums before disbanding CCR in 1972.

Fogerty began his solo career in 1973, a career which has included ten albums to date. My book will discuss Fogerty’s Americanism, his determined individualism and unyielding musical vision which has led to conflicts with his band, isolation from his family, a Jeremiad anxiety in his songwriting, withdrawals from recording and performing (which lasted as long as ten years), constant legal battles, and some of the greatest songs of the twentieth century. Fogerty sounds a very American voice, translating America in all its beauty, force, and contradictions, including its optimism and fear, its love of baseball and propensity for war, and its natural beauty and inner-city poverty. In short, Fogerty’s life and music reveals a full expression of the American experience.

I will also be available to discuss a collection of essays on Fogerty that I recently published, Finding Fogerty: An Interdisciplinary Reading of John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival (Lexington Books, 2013), my work as co-editor with Gary Burns of Northern Illinois University on two academic journals: Popular Music and Society and Rock Music Studies, inaugural issue 2014.