John Fogerty: The Rolling Stone Interview

February 21, 1970 12:00 AM ET

Below is an excerpt of an article that originally appeared in RS 52 from February 21, 1970. This issue and the rest of the Rolling Stone archives are available via Rolling Stone Plus, Rolling Stone's premium subscription plan. If you are already a subscriber, you can click here to see the full story. Not a member? Click here to learn more about Rolling Stone Plus.

In the calendar year 1969, Fantasy Records issued four albums. Three of them were by Creedence Clearwater Revival and each of those three has now passed a million dollars in sales and the 1968 Creedence LP, spurred on by the success of its successors, has joined them in the Gold Record category, making a total of eight gold records for Creedence and Fantasy

And in addition, of course, single discs by Creedence including "Down on the Corner," "Fortunate Son," "Green River," "Proud Mary," have been among the most successful single discs of the year, even hitting the top rung (No. 1) of the best selling singles ladder and making John Fogerty, who never saw the Mississippi River until a year ago, into a mythological practitioner of something called "swamp rock."

Fantasy is currently housed in a one-story garage-with-office in the Oakland, California ghetto, two blocks from the historical scene of the Black Panther-Oakland PD shoot out. It moved there two years ago when Saul Zaentz (rhymes with pants), a bearded pool-playing veteran of the record business, bought out the original owners, Sol and Max Weiss.

Fantasy was started by Sol Weiss at the end of the Forties in a search for an unbreakable disc. It was one of the first companies to issue vinylite discs (remember the color of the Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan and Cal Tjader LPs?). They introduced Dave Brubeck, Paul Desmond, Cal Tjader, Vince Guaraldi, Roger Collins, Lenny Bruce, the Mulligan Quartet, the Golliwogs, and others to the record audience.

Their Lenny Bruce albums made history. Their Gerry Mulligan single disc of "My Funny Vallentine" was one of the first jazz single records to sell in the pop field. They pioneered with jazz and poetry, issuing Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Kenneth Rexroth and, of course, the classic recording of Allen Ginsberg's Howl

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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