Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Nov 24th 2009 12:00PM by Dan Reilly
The song was inspired by President Dwight D. Eisenhower's grandson, David, who married then-President Richard Nixon's daughter, Julie. Fogerty, who was nearly drafted a few years earlier, knew that the younger Eisenhower wouldn't have to worry about getting involved with Vietnam. "I was very, very passionate about the sentiment in 'Fortunate Son,'" Fogerty says. "Obviously, the sitting president at the time was Richard Nixon, who I once described as an endless source of inspiration -- but it wasn't of a positive type. It was a very heartfelt emotion and it was very easy to write because the thing I was reacting to was all around me."
When Fogerty says it was easy, he doesn't just mean in finding the right words to convey his frustration with the war and upper class privilege. "I basically had been showing the band the music. We were in rehearsal every day and I knew I wanted to start getting the lyrics and the intent shaped up," he says. "Even though I'd been working on the music for probably a week or more, I basically walked into my bedroom with a yellow pad and pencil, sat down on the edge of the bed and 20 minutes later, the whole song was finished. It's probably one of the quickest songs I ever wrote."
And since, the song has popped up in many movies -- most notably in 'Forrest Gump' --and been covered by artists like Pearl Jam, Dropkick Murphys, U2, Bruce Springsteen and many more. "One of the more interesting ones that I ever heard was Wyclef Jean's from the remake of 'The Manchurian Candidate,'" Fogerty says. "It was slow and it had a funky, street sort of beat. That was a fresh version,. I've heard very loud young bands doing it, much like how I did it, except time had passed so people were louder and more distorted. I enjoy that. What I love is that people embrace the sentiment. There was a point in time way back in the Ronald Reagan years that I thought maybe everybody was going to fall asleep or something."
While younger bands have embraced the song for its message, another group of fans have come to appreciate Fogerty's work through the Coen brothers' classic, 'The Big Lebowski.' "It's such an honor to have somebody feature your music almost like it's a character in the movie in the way it's used," Fogerty says. "I think they've long been fans of my music and they figured out a way to use the music as sort of an alter-character, the way I understand it, with the Dude himself. That's totally cool. That's great. I'm happy about that."