Signed books written by celebrities are funny things. Most of the time, when we get signed books here at Lemuria, either through author visits or having them shipped by the publisher, the autograph is a bonus. An add-on. A superfluous treat. It’s an inducement to buy the book from us, as opposed to elsewhere, rather than not at all. When it’s a celebrity, rather than a capital-A ‘Author,’ it’s almost like you’re just buying the signature, and…hey, look, there’s a book attached! (Looking at you, specifically, Ethan Hawke).
I was excited when signed copies of John Fogerty’s biography Fortunate Son came in fifteen months ago, but my book-buying was a little out-of-control at the time, so I passed. When I saw that we were thinking about sending the last few back to the publisher, I finally pounced. I’m so glad that I did. (We do have a couple of copies left, however. See the end of the post for details.)
John Fogerty, if you’re not aware, was the driving creative force behind the legendary 60s rock’n’roll band Creedence Clearwater Revival—its singer, lead guitarist, and songwriter. I’ve been listening to Creedence songs since before I knew who they were, in the backseat of my mom’s Camaro with the radio tuned to Oldies 94. I later filched a copy of Fogerty’s 1998 live album Premonitionwhen I was in high school. Downloaded a copy of CCR’s greatest hits in college. So I enjoy Fogerty’s music, as well as any piece of classic rock’n’roll lore about bands that I love, but I haven’t thought about either in any concentrated way in a long time.
Fogerty has a very conversational writing style that’s easy to get into. It’s not difficult to imagine the book in the voice from the stage banter on the live album—simple, folksy, often self-effacing. You can tell Fogerty is very fan-oriented: he knows mostly what the reader wants to hear about, although there’s also a lot more he wants to get off his chest. He talks frankly about his time in one of history’s most famous rock bands, and tries to explain the process behind writing some of his most famous songs, especially the classic slice of Americana that is “Proud Mary.”
He sure isn’t ambiguous about what he feels. Sometimes it justifies his actions, and sometimes it makes him look like a jerk, even to those who might deserve it. I have compiled a short list of things he mentions frequently, starting with sheer loathing and ending with extreme adoration:
- Saul Zaentz, longtime owner of Fantasy records
- the creative integrity of his bandmates
- Richard Nixon
- The Grateful Dead
- Bruce Springsteen
- the spirit of rock’n’roll
- his second wife, Julie
If you find yourself looking out your back door with nothing to do but watch a bad moon rising up around the bend, run through the jungle to your local independent bookstore and pick up a copy of Fortunate Son. I know I feel fortunate that I did.
Even though the file above is for the unsigned paperback, we do still have a few copies of the signed hardback editions as of the time of this post. To inquire about purchasing one, please call the store at 800-366-7619.