John Fogerty Net Worth: The 50-Year Battle to Reclaim Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Music

Estimated read time 5 min read


In the world of recorded music, few conflicts between artists and record labels have endured as long and contentious as the one between John Fogerty, the co-founding singer, songwriter, and guitarist of Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR), and Fantasy Records. Since the release of their self-titled debut album in 1968, CCR has sold over 50 million albums worldwide, cementing their place in music history. However, the relationship between Fogerty and Fantasy Records’ owner, Saul Zaentz, took a bitter turn in the 1980s, leading to a protracted legal battle.

In 1980, seeking to exit his recording contract with Fantasy Records, Fogerty handed over his CCR royalties to Zaentz. This decision marked the beginning of a litigious feud between the two, with Zaentz famously suing Fogerty for plagiarizing his own work in 1985. The legal wrangling eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting in Fogerty’s victory.

While Fogerty retained ownership of his solo work, he struggled to reclaim the rights to the songs he wrote for CCR. Despite numerous attempts, he eventually resigned himself to the belief that regaining ownership was unlikely. However, recent negotiations with Concord Music Group, the current owner of Fantasy Records, led to a breakthrough for Fogerty. His wife, Julie, played a pivotal role in initiating these conversations, culminating in Fogerty reclaiming a majority interest in CCR’s global publishing.

A Sense of Relief

After years of frustration and disappointment, Fogerty expressed his sense of relief at finally reclaiming ownership of the songs he had written. He recounted feeling shocked and helpless when he first realized that he didn’t own his own creations. The bitterness of being denied royalties and control over his music took an emotional toll on him. With the recent agreement in place, Fogerty no longer feels burdened by this struggle and can now fully embrace the fact that his songs belong to him.

Past Attempts and a Fateful Encounter

Fogerty’s journey towards reclaiming his CCR songs was arduous. He had engaged in negotiations with Zaentz and Bill Graham in 1989, which ended unfavorably. Subsequently, Fogerty gradually came to terms with the reality that ownership might remain elusive. However, everything changed when he visited the grave of blues legend Robert Johnson in Mississippi. The experience triggered a realization that he needed to reconnect with his own songs, just like he believed Johnson’s songs belonged to him. This pivotal moment inspired him to start performing CCR songs again, breathing new life into the material.

Concord’s Role and Business Realities

With Saul Zaentz’s passing in 2014, Fantasy Records eventually changed hands and was acquired by Concord Music Group in the early 2000s. Concord reinstated CCR’s royalties, ensuring that Fogerty received his deserved payments for the first time in nearly 25 years. However, Fogerty’s aspirations to purchase the copyrights faced financial challenges, and negotiations were not prioritized. Over time, Fogerty realized that record companies operate as businesses, which impacted his relationship with Fantasy Records again.

Curating Commercial Placements

Fogerty acknowledges the changing landscape of music licensing for commercial purposes. In the past, he was opposed to his music being used in such ways, particularly for products or industries that conflicted with his values. However, the contemporary music industry has evolved, and young musicians often view licensing as an opportunity for visibility and exposure. While Fogerty remains cautious about certain uses, he is now more open to the idea of licensing his music for movies or streaming platforms to reach a new generation of listeners.

Family Reunion on Stage

CCR began as a family band, and now Fogerty has the joy of performing alongside his sons, Tyler and Shane, on stage. Owning his songs again has brought a new sense of fulfillment, knowing that the family’s musical legacy continues to thrive. The onstage camaraderie and shared passion for music have created a positive and joyful experience for Fogerty, underscoring the significance of the full circle in his musical journey.

Navigating Copyright Laws and Advice for Young Musicians

Throughout his 50-year battle, Fogerty has developed a cynical perspective on American copyright laws, especially within the music publishing realm. He emphasizes the importance of young songwriters owning their songs and not succumbing to pressure from record labels or publishers. Learning from his own struggles, Fogerty advises aspiring musicians to protect their creative rights and avoid regrettable agreements that could impact their artistic ownership and career longevity.


John Fogerty’s 50-year battle to regain control of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s music is a testament to the complexity and challenges faced by artists in the music industry. With ownership restored, Fogerty can now focus on curating his music’s commercial placements and sharing the joy of performing with his family. His experiences also serve as a cautionary tale for young musicians to be vigilant in protecting their creative rights and maintaining control over their artistic works in the ever-changing landscape of the music business.

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