John Fogerty – I Saw It On TV

When I bought the Centerfield album in 1985 this is one of the first songs that I listened to. This song broke Fogerty’s writer’s block he had for years…and he wrote the album after this. The song chronicles history from the 50s to the 70s. While fishing he started to think about the things he’s seen on T.V. as a young boy: the Eisenhower inauguration, the Yankees, the Mickey Mouse Club, Elvis Presley, The Beatles on Ed Sullivan Show etc. The story continued on through the sixties, Vietnam, and then Watergate.

I Saw It On TV was not a hit but a very good album track. The song concludes with the riff of the intro of “Who’ll Stop the Rain”.

Robert Hilburn from The Los Angeles Times,

“The album’s most affecting tune, however, may be “I Saw It on T.V,” a look at the way television has programmed so many shared emotions into the post-’50’s generation. In the song, Fogerty traces the liberating effect of Presley’s arrival, the idealism of the Kennedy years, the loss of innocence after his assassination, the celebration of the Beatles, the tragedy of Vietnam and the corruption of Watergate.”


I Saw It On TV

They sent us home to watch the show comin’ on the little screen
A man named Ike was in the white house, big black limousine
There were many shows to follow, from ‘Hooter’ to Doodyville
Though I saw them all, I can’t recall which cartoon was real

The coon-skin caps, Yankee bats, the Hound Dog man’s big start
The A-Bomb fears, Annette had ears, I lusted in my heart
A young man from Boston set sail the new frontier
And we watched the Dream dead-end in Dallas
They buried innocence that year

I know it’s true, oh so true
‘Cause I saw it on TV

We gathered round to hear the sound comin’ on the little screen
The grief had passed, the old men laughed, and all the girls screamed
‘Cause four guys from England took us all by the hand
It was time to laugh, time to sing, time to join the band

But all too soon, we hit the moon, and covered up the sky
They built their bombs, and aimed their guns, and still I don’t know why
The dominoes tumbled and big business roared
Every night at six, they showed the pictures and counted up the score

I know it’s true, oh so true
‘Cause I saw it on TV

The old man rocks among his dreams, a prisoner of the porch
“The light” he says
“At the end of the tunnel was nothin’, but a burglar’s torch”
And them that was caught in the cover are all rich and free
But they chained my mind to an endless tomb
When they took my only son from me

I know it’s true, oh so true
‘Cause I saw it on TV
I know it’s true, oh so true
‘Cause I saw it on TV


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

12 thoughts on “John Fogerty – I Saw It On TV”

  1. I never heard it before. It’s a powerful song and those images bring some tragic memories for our nation back. The score card of how many dead for VietNam. Nowadays they don’t let you see the coffins or tell how many are dying…

    Liked by 1 person

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