A pair of lava lamps perch on a massive mixing desk in the Pacific Palisades, California, studio where John Fogerty and mixing engineer Bob Clearmountain are rushing to complete the singer’s new album, Wrote a Song for Everyone. The retro décor feels appropriate for the project – Fogerty’s ninth LP since disbanding Creedence Clearwater Revival in 1972, but his first to truly confront that band’s legacy. The disc is built around new versions of CCR classics, from “Fortunate Son” to “Born on the Bayou,” recorded with guests including Kid Rock, Foo Fighters, Bob Seger and more. “It’s no nostalgia fest,” says Clearmountain. “It’s like they’re new songs.”
Fogerty has been working on the album since 2010 – insisting on recording in person with his collaborators. “I didn’t want to just mail people tracks,” he says, “because then everyone would just do ‘Proud Mary’ like the old record.” Instead, he went to New Orleans to cut that track with Allen Toussaint, later enlisting Jennifer Hudson for a powerful vocal take. “Like almost every other kid on Earth, Creedence was a huge part of my childhood,” adds My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, who sings a sweet falsetto version of “Long as I Can See the Light.” “John’s still got it.”
On some level, the disc is a way for Fogerty to re-embrace his old material after resolving years of legal struggles over his publishing rights. “There was a long time when a lot of stuff was painful, but that doesn’t exist anymore,” he says. “I wrote all these songs – they’re back home with Daddy, like they should be.”
This story is from the February 14th, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone.