“Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Fortunate Son is basically centered around the Vietnam War era and how certain rich young people were not drafted into the military due to their high-profile connections as against how poor unfortunate young men were often drafted.

The songwriter puts himself in the shoes of the less privileged and claims that he is not fortunate. He isn’t blessed because he was not born rich and as such cannot avoid the trouble that comes with being drafted to fight a war that was somewhat unnecessary.

“Fortunate Son” Facts

John Fogerty alongside Doug Clifford wrote this song. Creedence Clearwater Revival subsequently released it on November 2, 1969 as part of their 1969 album, Willow and the Poor Boys.

Fogerty and Clifford, prior to writing this song enlisted in the Army Reserves. Here, they served from 1966 to 1968 in order to avoid being sent off to Vietnam. The song covers their defiance against the Vietnam war.

Richard Nixon was US president at the time of writing. Fogerty did not like the then President’s ideals. According to Fogerty, he sensed that people around the President were preferentially treated and not drafted into the military service.

Forgety told American Songwriter in a 2013 interview that he wrote the whole song in about twenty minutes. The lead singer lost his publishing rights to this song as well as all other songs he wrote for the band due to a contract signed with Fantasy Records.

Fogety’s voice sounds strained on the song because he recorded several vocal takes for Down On the Corner, prior to recording this track.

Interestingly, Fortunate Son has often been misinterpreted as a patriotic song, when in fact it is quite the opposite. The same applies to Bruce Springsteen iconic hit “Born in the U.S.A.

The song has been covered by numerous artists including the following:

  • Bruce Springsteen
  • U2
  • Undead
  • Kid Rock,
  • Minutemen

In 2020, Fogerty sent a cease and desist letter to President Trump. In the letter, he clearly specified that the President was using the words in this song to send a message he does not endorse. Forgety further explained that his song’s lyrics are actually the opposite, meant to criticize wealthy people for not paying their taxes. Simply put, he wasn’t cool with Trump using his song at his political rallies.

3 Responses

  1. greg says:

    hello, good section. I did not know about this. thank you

  2. Eric says:

    I thought Trumps use of “Fortunate Son” was really an odd choice, whatever my politics happen to be. The lyrics are a full-throated double-barreled criticism of exactly such people as Donald Trump, and the policies that allowed them to escape military service.

    The singer’s statement that the reason he is military service; “I ain’t no millionaire’s son… I ain’t no fortunate one” seemed tailor made to draw criticism to Trumps use of questionable medical deferments.

    I thought it was a bizarre choice.

  3. aj says:

    @eric – apparently you (like many others with TDS) in ignorance, did not bother to look at trumps DISAPPROVAL of vietnam war – exactly like ‘slick willy’ billy BOY clintion. Curious how many other hypocrites like this supported clintons

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