Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#594 in the Series) is John Fogerty, Centerfield
This is another one of those albums that may not be looked upon the same way as it did when it was released. I think the overplaying of the title cut may have caused a little “album fatigue” that changes the overall perspective of this album.
I’m writing this looking back to what I felt and what it felt like listening to this album back in 1985. In 2012 you might not realize how much of a big deal this album was, but this was a big deal! You have to go back and look at the whole history of John Fogerty and remember how he was pretty much thrown to the sideline since 1976 due to the well-publicized “Contract-Hell” situations.
This was THE comeback album for John, it was his new coming-out party, and it was dark good.
I can easily remember the period of time when this was released. This was that year and a half period or so when I was living in up in the state of Wisconsin. I finally remembered calling upon ShopKo stores in that area and ranking their music. One store was in Oshkosh, we played this to death and electronics department and sold a ton of copies. It seems like yesterday, and now we have a 25th year anniversary edition of this already released.
The title track”Centerfield”, is the song that the album is most remembered for, but it wasn’t the first single. That was another John classic “The Old Man Down the Road.” Another song that received a lot of airplay was John Fogerty’s tribute to Elvis, “Big Training from Memphis.”
However none of those songs, to me, were close to being the best song on the album. That designation would go to “I Saw it on TV.” I think this very well may be the best song John Fogerty ever wrote, and yes we know he wrote a bunch.
I’ve included the song and the video playlist below, I encourage you to take a listen to it and follow along with the lyrics, it won’t be hard because the pictures tell the story along with it. I didn’t see much of the 60s but I remember many of the historic points and this song captured the feel exactly as it was.
I have a feeling many of you haven’t listened to this album in its entirety, cover to cover in quite a long time. Did you have it when it was new? Do you remember how you enjoyed it then? I suggest taking it out of mothballs and listening to it again the way you did back in 1985. Its magic will all come back to you.
Here’s a few more notes on the “Centerfield” album. earlier I referred to John’s legal issues that were with Fantasy Records. fantasy was owned by Saul Zaentz, The song Zanz Kant Danz was written about “Zanz Kant Danz.” This caused even more legal issues so a new version was released after 1985 called “Vanz Kant Danz.” Unfortunately, that was not the end of John’s legal issues with Saul Zaentz. Saul also sued John for copyright infringement claiming the song “The Old Man Down the Road” was actually “Run Through the Jungle” with just different lyrics. The courts ruled in John Fogerty’s favor. It’s believed that he was the only songwriter in history to be sued for allegedly plagiarising himself.
Centerfield did reach the number one position on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart.”The Old Man Down the Road” reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. The other singles to chart were “Centerfield” which peaked at #44 and “Rock and Roll Girls” which peaked at #20. “Big Train From Memphis” was released as a country single and peaked at # 38.
— Larry Carta
All songs written by John Fogerty
- “The Old Man Down the Road” – 3:34I
- “Rock and Roll Girls” – 3:28
- “Big Train (From Memphis)” – 2:58
- “I Saw It On T.V.” – 4:20
- “Mr. Greed” – 4:09
- “Searchlight” – 4:31
- “Centerfield” – 3:53
- “I Can’t Help Myself” – 3:15
- “Zanz Kant Danz (Vanz Kant Danz)” – 5:32
- John Fogerty – Everything
- Official John Fogerty Website
- See our piece on John Fogerty, The Blue Ridge Ranger Rides Again
- See our piece on CCR, Cosmos Factory
- See more from 1985
- See other acts from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that we’ve featured.
Listen to a pretty good chunk of Centerfield