John Fogerty and Glyn Johns books

opentune

Platinum Member
This Xmas holidays I found time to read two good books on music that I thought to share. I enjoy histories of band development or music history. I strongly recommend both these books.

John Fogerty's Fortunate Son - Had a bad rap, for decades, and the man is bitter, really bitter, but understandably so. A detailed tragedy of how one can be screwed over (and over) by managers, record campaniles, lawyers and worst of all his own bandmates! This story is almost a cliche in the 60's and 70's but his was particularly bad, as he had written so many hits and had barely a royalty. He even had to buy all his music back. He sets the record straight, and showed how he did all the work and more in CCR. Nothing but disparaging comments of the lacking talent of his bandmates, who all sued him more than once, and are even still suing him. The book is a rant in places, and really choppy, we go from the writing of Lodi to views on US gun control in the same page. He could have used a better editor. But its brutally honest. Best of all, Fogerty is highly complimentary of drummers and drumming in the book, naming them '50% of the band'. Loves Kenny Aronoff, (despises Doug Clifford).

Glyn Johns 'Sound Man' - from the other side of the glass, the engineer/producer. A very witty, knowledgeable insightful person on the recording/music process. Its extremely well-written. Johns went to a good grammar school, so I needed a dictionary quite a few times! He is an example of being in the right place in the right time of music history with a great story on everybody he worked with. Describes his accidental discovery of his classic "3 mic method' for recording drums (during recording of Led Zep I). He even clarifies how every YouTube video of this method is incorrect. Of note were the few times he was 'blown away' on the first cuts - Led Zep's first hour in the studio, the Who's Won't Get Fooled Again, and Joan Armatrading. I was surprised to read how poorly he was treated or at least disregarded by both the Beatles and the Stones.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
This Xmas holidays I found time to read two good books on music that I thought to share. I enjoy histories of band development or music history. I strongly recommend both these books.

John Fogerty's Fortunate Son - Had a bad rap, for decades, and the man is bitter, really bitter, but understandably so. A detailed tragedy of how one can be screwed over (and over) by managers, record campaniles, lawyers and worst of all his own bandmates! This story is almost a cliche in the 60's and 70's but his was particularly bad, as he had written so many hits and had barely a royalty. He even had to buy all his music back. He sets the record straight, and showed how he did all the work and more in CCR. Nothing but disparaging comments of the lacking talent of his bandmates, who all sued him more than once, and are even still suing him. The book is a rant in places, and really choppy, we go from the writing of Lodi to views on US gun control in the same page. He could have used a better editor. But its brutally honest. Best of all, Fogerty is highly complimentary of drummers and drumming in the book, naming them '50% of the band'. Loves Kenny Aronoff, (despises Doug Clifford).

Glyn Johns 'Sound Man' - from the other side of the glass, the engineer/producer. A very witty, knowledgeable insightful person on the recording/music process. Its extremely well-written. Johns went to a good grammar school, so I needed a dictionary quite a few times! He is an example of being in the right place in the right time of music history with a great story on everybody he worked with. Describes his accidental discovery of his classic "3 mic method' for recording drums (during recording of Led Zep I). He even clarifies how every YouTube video of this method is incorrect. Of note were the few times he was 'blown away' on the first cuts - Led Zep's first hour in the studio, the Who's Won't Get Fooled Again, and Joan Armatrading. I was surprised to read how poorly he was treated or at least disregarded by both the Beatles and the Stones.
Oooo very interesting! I am interested in reading both of these books. I feel bad for John Fogerty. It's validating to hear a guy like that say drummers are 50% of the band. I have to agree, because for better or worse, the band has to dance to the drummers dance. John didn't deserve all the crap he had to swallow.

And the Glyn Johns thing. I am always fascinated to hear accounts of the people who record musicians. Like Eddie Kramer, Sam Phillips, all the great engineers who are unsung. And now we have stuff from Glyn Johns. Yea, I can't wait to hear what he says. They have a rare perspective on things that I just eat up.

(said like Bill Murray to Mrs. Loopner) Thank you Louis.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
And now we have stuff from Glyn Johns. Yea, I can't wait to hear what he says. They have a rare perspective on things that I just eat up.
Ya the little things are interesting. Here's one. Glyn worked with the Stones through all those years, many long long hours, working up classic stuff. He spoke with Mick often, but never ONCE did Keith ever greet him hello or goodbye, say a kind word to him, how you doing, any simple niceties etc. Lennon too.
Glyn suggested the Beatles do the rooftop gig on Let it Be. He then mixed the entire Let it Be album, and it was done ready to master. But Lennon gave it to Phil Spector who disregarded everything, re-mixed and 'puked allover it'. I would love to hear Glyn's original mix.
 

newoldie

Silver Member
Agreed with both summaries and thanks for mentioning these books.

I read them both, most recently Fogerty's.
If what he states is the truth (and no other band member seems to have written anything to the contrary yet, one member is dead), you have to admire his brutal frankness regarding the band's dynamics and internal battles. He's had plenty of personal demons to overcome.
I just wish the other bands I play in would include more CCR songs in their set lists.
Clifford's drumming was quite simple but fit at the time; in hearing other band covers and JF's own configurations, it seems there's some room for tasteful variations in the basic grooves.

John's book revealed personal accounts of rock stars and recording perspectives about the engineer recording industry I was never aware of.

Another interesting autobiography from music producing is Jac Holzman's Follow The Music, about his creation of Elektra Records and the recording stars he personally worked with from the late 50's through the 70s. A lot of musicians, competitors and adversaries also chime in on Holzman's commentary in the book itself, making a really interactive 2-way account of what went down.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Clifford's drumming was quite simple but fit at the time; in hearing other band covers and JF's own configurations, it seems there's some room for tasteful variations in the basic grooves.
Another interesting autobiography from music producing is Jac Holzman's Follow The Music, about his creation of Elektra Records and the recording stars he personally worked with from the late 50's through the 70s.
I agree on Cliffords drumming, which was perfect for CCR. Like John said, though he did have good tone, he could do nothing but the same thing all the time. Funny I went back to listen to Lodi to hear the mistake in the 'drum break' Fogerty speaks of, and it is kind of rough.

I'll have to have a read of Holzman's book. The industry is pretty much going south. A good thing to get rid of the rip-off part for artists, but sad for the nurturing of their creativity by a company, now totally gone. They get one shot now, if that.
 

rdb

Senior Member
I also recently read them both. The Fogerty book is not exactly a fun read, but for a fan, I think his perspective is worth it. More recently, I've read the new Petty book which is great. Now in the middle of a Sam Phillips book. As long as they keep writing, I'll keep reading.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
Fantastic, thanks for the review. I was given the Glyn Johns book for Christmas so I'll look forward to reading it even more now.
 

brady

Platinum Member
Ya the little things are interesting. Here's one. Glyn worked with the Stones through all those years, many long long hours, working up classic stuff. He spoke with Mick often, but never ONCE did Keith ever greet him hello or goodbye, say a kind word to him, how you doing, any simple niceties etc. Lennon too.
Glyn suggested the Beatles do the rooftop gig on Let it Be. He then mixed the entire Let it Be album, and it was done ready to master. But Lennon gave it to Phil Spector who disregarded everything, re-mixed and 'puked allover it'. I would love to hear Glyn's original mix.
Check out a copy of Let It Be...Naked. It's probably the closest we can get to what it was meant to be. It's a re-released version of the album which I think was remastered by Paul(?).

The difference between the two records is night and day.

On topic, I picked up the Glyn Johns book a few days ago. I can't wait to check it out. I have a few other v=books to get through first.

For those that like to read stuff from a producer/engineer point of view, check out Behind The Boards and Behind The Boards II. It covers some interesting things behind the recording of a lot of classic tunes.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
The Holzman book is awesome.

Lovely for its insight to what it was like to be involved in the formative years of rock music.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Check out a copy of Let It Be...Naked. It's probably the closest we can get to what it was meant to be. It's a re-released version of the album which I think was remastered by Paul(?). The difference between the two records is night and day.
For those that like to read stuff from a producer/engineer point of view, check out Behind The Boards and Behind The Boards II. It covers some interesting things behind the recording of a lot of classic tunes.
thanks man! will have to check those out.
I didn't know Paul re-mastered Let it Be.
 

NVIC

Senior Member
thank you for the reviews.

I adore Fogerty and Kenny A.'s drumming but I question his heavy playing with JF. It seems a bit too much. And he's become an overly flashy player and it detracts from Fogerty's stage presence. I've seen Kenny back in the day with Mellencamp and that was a better fit.
 

Axe

Senior Member
Love the Fogerty book, but he still does not own his music according to the book, no? He wants to buy it back though, no doubt.

Seen him 3 times the last few years, love Aronoffs drumming.
 
Last edited:

opentune

Platinum Member
Love the Fogerty book, but he still does not own his music according to the book, no?
True. He had to buy his way out to be no longer connected with Saul Zauntz. Right now not sure who owns his copyrights.
 
Top