Flashback: John Fogerty Wins Rare Self-Plagiarism Suit in 1988

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s label claimed that Fogerty’s “The Old Man Down the Road” sounded too much like “Run Through the Jungle”

With plagiarism lawsuits regularly blurring the lines of America’s legal system lately, some musical artists have taken to preemptively giving credit to songwriters if their tracks sound even remotely similar to another song. Taylor Swift did it with “Look What You Made Me Do” because she thought it sounded like Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” and Portugal. The Man did the same with “Feel It Still” and the Marvelettes’ “Please Mr. Postman.” But such a move wouldn’t have helped John Fogerty, when he faced a bizarre self-plagiarism suit in the mid-Eighties.

When he put out “The Old Man Down the Road,” the swinging first single off his mega-selling Centerfield album, in late 1984, the label that owns his old Creedence Clearwater Revival recordings, Fantasy, Inc., alleged he’d ripped off his own “swamp-rock” hit “Run Through the Jungle.” While the songs have similar vibes (much like in the recent Marvin Gaye and Robin Thicke lawsuit), they sound pretty different all these years later. For years, Fogerty and Fantasy’s chairman, Saul Zaentz, had sparred over money and business matters (Fogerty refused to play CCR songs for more than a decade), but this suit, which also named Warner Bros. as a defendant, was the apex.