Creedence Clearwater Revival

Fortunate Son

Composed by John Fogerty

Song Review by

"Fortunate Son" was, with its flipside "Down on the Corner," a double-sided #3 single in late 1969 for Creedence Clearwater Revival. Musically, though powerful, it was perhaps a shade less memorable than Creedence's other huge hits of the era, like "Down on the Corner," for instance. Lyrically, though, it was one of songwriter John Fogerty's strongest and most uncompromising statements. Too much, perhaps, has been made by some critics of a pro-working class and anti-privilege ethos in the song, with some seeing it as a blast against those wealthy families who were able to keep their sons out of Vietnam while less affluent people had less options. It's more of a screed against the privileged in general, using and subscribing to patriotism while sending others to do the dirty work of fighting. At any rate, Fogerty -- who, incidentally, did serve in the army reserve and knew something about having to pay the consequences of militarism -- makes his stance on the matter clear, if blunt. That's especially so in the chorus, where Fogerty hammers home the point again and again: it ain't him, he's not a fortunate son. (Interestingly, the title "Fortunate Son" is sung just once, in the very last one; more often, he uses the phrase "I ain't no fortunate one.") Although the guitar riffs "Fortunate Son" are constructed around are more basic and less memorable than those on some other Creedence hits, they're effective enough, starting with the slightly devious, curling one that opens the track. The verses are mostly a rushed three-chord background for Fogerty to spit-howl his venom against, though there's a lot of sincere soul as well, particularly when he hits the highest notes.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Willy and the Poor Boys 1969 Fantasy 2:21
No Image 196? Fantasy
More Creedence Gold 1973 Fantasy 2:20
Chronicle, Vol. 1 1976 Fantasy 2:18
No Image 1982 Fantasy
No Image 1985 Fantasy
Creedence Clearwater Revival [Time Life] 198? Fantasy 2:19
No Image 1990 Fantasy
Forrest Gump 1994
Original Soundtrack
Epic 2:18
Prefontaine 1997
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood 2:20
The Best of Creedence Clearwater Revival [Fantasy Canada] 1998 Fantasy 2:20
Ultimate Collection 1998 Mushroom Records 2:18
Collection 1999 Fantasy 2:25
Keep on Chooglin' [Festival] 1999 Festival Records 2:21
At the Movies 1999 Fantasy 2:20
Creedence Clearwater Revival [Box Set] 2001 Fantasy 2:25
Platinum 2004 BMG International 2:19
Concord Music Group (Sampler) 2005
Various Artists
Concord 2:19
Absolute Originals 2006 APO (Analogue Production Originals) 2:21
Best Of 2008 Universal International 2:19
Collected 2008 Universal Distribution 2:17
Creedence Clearwater Revival [Collector's Tin] 2008 Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:21
40th Anniversary Editions Box Set 2009 Universal Distribution / Concord / Universal / Fantasy 2:20
Opus Collection 2009 Hear Music 2:20
The Singles Collection 2009 Concord / Fantasy 2:21
Ultimate Creedence Clearwater Revival: Greatest Hits & All-Time Classics 2012 Concord / Fantasy 2:18
Greatest Hits 2014 Fantasy 2:18
Suicide Squad: The Album 2016
Original Soundtrack
Atlantic 2:18
No Image Phantom
Logan Lucky [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
Various Artists
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:20