Neil Young and John Fogerty Lawsuits

In the eighties, two lawsuits popped up pertaining to these two artists.

Neil Young was basically sued for NOT sounding like himself by David Geffen and John Fogerty was sued for sounding too MUCH like himself by Saul Zaentz and Fantasy Records.

In the early eighties, David Geffen signed Neil Young to a huge contract to Geffen Records. Neil who will do his own thing no matter what or when…released an album called “Trans” his foray into electronic music. Geffen wanted another “Harvest” with another Heart of Gold or Old Man…instead he got “Computer Age” and “We R in Control” with Neil singing through a Vocoder. After that Neil was asked to do more rock and roll by a Geffen record company executive…the record company was thinking more of the lines of the harder rock Rust Never Sleeps…so Neil gave them rock and roll all right… “Everybody’s Rockin” an album full of early fifties Doo-wop and rockabilly sounding songs. The record company was not amused…he then released an album full of country music… In his contract, Neil had full artistic freedom.

Geffen had claimed the new albums were  “unrepresentative” of Neil’s music.

Geffen sued him for 3.3 million dollars but the case was settled and Geffen had to apologize to Neil.

In 1985 John Fogerty finally broke his silence with the album Centerfield. He had not released anything since 1975. He was involved with legal hassles and could not make music. Centerfield was a good album that signaled to the world John was back. He then was sued by Fantasy Records owner Saul Zaentz who signed the great Creedence Clearwater Revival to a terrible contract with Fantasy Records that kept John…the main songwriter and singer under contract forever. On top of that John gave up his copyrights to his CCR songs to Saul and Fantasy just to get out of that contract. The first single off of the Centerfield album “Old Man Down the Road” shot up the charts. Saul sued claiming it sounded too much like an old Creedence song that John wrote and sang called “Run Through the Jungle”. So he was being sued for plagiarizing himself. John would take his guitar to court to demonstrate how he wrote the two songs.

John won the case in 1988 and a lot of other musicians breathed a sigh of relief because other artists could have been sued for sounding like their younger selves if John would have lost. John countersued Fantasy Records for legal fees and it went to the Supreme Court in 1994…. they ruled in favor of Fogerty.

 

 

 

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

4 thoughts on “Neil Young and John Fogerty Lawsuits”

  1. Those were two crazy lawsuits. If you sign Neil Young to a contract you know he never repeats himself. He could go in any direction. He’s an artist… and Fogerty how can you be sued for ripping yourself off? It was the John Fogerty sound!! Back to Neil- I did like the Trans album- one of the albums that Geffen didn’t like. If those albums had sold in the millions would Geffen had sued? I think not. Glad the artists came out on top in both cases.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw Neil on his country tour in the mid-80s. Neil Young and David Bowie remind me of each other… as crazy as that sounds but they always were reinventing themselves…or “chasing the muse” as Neil puts it. I liked the Trans album also…because I thought it was cool of him branching off. I also liked the song “Wondering” off of Everybody’s Rockin…it was doo-wop in the middle of the 80s so it was a change. Geffen would have counted the money and not said a thing if it sold well… Fogerty, there was a lot of bad blood with him and Saul… That was a toxic relationship since the Creedence days.

      Liked by 1 person

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