Creedence Clearwater Revival are the definition of “classic rock,” during the late ’60s and early ’70s the band produced iconic rock songs including the protest anthem, “Fortunate Son.”
In 1969, Creedence Clearwater Revival (or CCR for short), where at their commercial peak. Coming off the success of their debut self-titled album in 1968, John Fogerty and company had released 3 LPs during 1969, including their final album of that year Willy and the Poor Boys. The album’s single “Down On the Corner” was released following hit singles “Green River,” “Proud Mary,” and “Bad Moon Rising” respectively. The single’s B-side was the protest anthem, “Fortunate Son.”
Though “Down on the Corner” was a larger commercial success, “Fortunate Son” became a cultural flashpoint during the Counterculture era. Penned by lead singer/guitarist John Fogerty, the anti-war sentiment criticized the Vietnam War, though not explicitly, focused on the militant patriotic behaviour of the time. Singing “it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no,” Fogerty’s lyrics spoke of the elite classes, who “fortunate sons” weren’t being sent off to war but rather the poor -those drafted into war- who were paying the price.
Fogerty’s righteous wail against the establishment was fuelled by the growing anti-Vietnam war movement, channeling his frustration into the song’s ferocity and blunt lyrics, that still hold their defiant anger today. CCR’s energetic middle finger to privilege remains relevant as “Fortunate Son” has become a widely used song in protest of military action especially by the American government.
“Fortunate Son” was not only culturally significant but also a successful single for CCR, cracking the Top 10 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles on November 22, 1969 and peaking at No. 14 in the U.S.
- Fogerty has stated he was inspired to write “Fortunate Son” thanks to David Eisenhower, grandson of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and son-in-law to former President Richard Nixon through marriage to his daughter, Julie.
- The No. 1 Single on the Canadian RPM Top Singles on November 22nd, 1969 was The Beatles “Something.”