John Fogerty has responded to criticism of Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl and Zac Brown’s performance of “Fortunate Son” – the hit single Fogerty wrote while a member of his former band, Creedence Clearwater Revival – at the Concert for Valor earlier this week.
The lyrics to the 1969 song reference rich people who orchestrate wars and then draft the poor to fight in them. People have criticized the musicians’ decision to play the song at a Veterans Day event.
“‘Fortunate Son’ is a song I wrote during the Vietnam War over 45 years ago,” Fogerty said in a statement. “As an American and a songwriter, I am proud that the song still has resonance. I do believe that its meaning gets misinterpreted and even usurped by various factions wishing to make their own case. What a great country we have that a song like this can be performed in a setting like Concert for Valor.
“Years ago, an ultraconservative administration tried to paint anyone who questioned its policies as ‘un-American,'” he continues. “That same administration shamefully ignored and mistreated the soldiers returning from Vietnam. As a man who was drafted and served his country during those times, I have ultimate respect for the men and women who protect us today and demand that they receive the respect that they deserve.”
Springsteen also performed his own anti–Vietnam War hit, “Born in the U.S.A.,” during his Concert for Valor set. Other performers at the event included Eminem, Rihanna, Metallica, the Black Keys and Carrie Underwood.
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Late last week, Fogerty was in D.C. to perform on the lawn of the White House for A Salute to the Troops: In Performance at the White House, a program that PBS broadcast, on which he performed “Fortunate Son.” Willie Nelson, Mary J. Blige, Common and others performed and active-duty military members made appearances.
“What a great country this is,” Fogerty said of the event. “I was honored that they asked me to perform for the veterans. I changed my tour schedule so I could be a part of this special event. Introducing my daughter and son to the president and first lady was an unforgettable experience.”