John Fogerty said President Donald Trump's decision to use the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit "Fortunate Son" at the start of a rally on Thursday was "confounding" considering the meaning of the song. Fogerty wrote "Fortunate Son" in 1969 after he was drafted and served in the military as a protest song to criticize the people "born, silver spoon in hand" who avoided military service during the Vietnam War.
Trump played the song as he walked out of Air Force One at the beginning of a rally in Freeland, Michigan. The president's decision to use the song shocked many on Twitter, who suggested Trump was unaware of the song's meaning. Trump did not serve in the Vietnam War, as he received five deferments, four for education, and a fifth citing "bone spurts." In an Instagram video he shared Friday, Fogerty agreed that Trump's use of the song is "confounding, to say the least."
View this post on Instagram
Fogerty explained that he was inspired to write the song because he was "very upset" that "people of privilege, in other words, rich people or people of position, could use that to avoid the draft and not be taken into the military." The former CCR frontman said the song could be written about today, specifically pointing to the lyric, "Some folks are born, made to wave the flag. Ooh, they are red, white, and blue. But when the band plays 'Hail to the Chief,' they point the cannon at you."
Fogerty said this is "exactly what happened" at Lafayette Park in the days after the George Floyd protests began when federal troops cleared the area so Trump could walk across the street and hold up a bible in front of St. John's Church. "It’s a song I could have written now," he said. "So I found it confusing that the president has chosen to use my song for his political rallies, when in fact it seems like he is probably the Fortunate Son."
“Fortunate Son” plays as Trump de-planes, an entry for the “nobody listened to the lyrics” hall of fame. pic.twitter.com/fJBPI7CxGQ— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) September 10, 2020
Although Fogerty did not specifically ask Trump to stop playing the song, other classic rock artists have demanded the president stop playing their songs at his rallies. Last month, Neil Young filed a lawsuit against the Trump campaign for using "Rockin' In The Free World" and "Devil's Sidewalk." The Tom Petty estate also sent a cease and desist letter after Trump used "I Won't Back Down" at Trump's Tulsa, Oklahoma rally.