At Tuesday's Concert for Valor in Washington, D.C., Nov. 11, Bruce Springsteen stirred up plenty of controversy when he performed Creedence Clearwater Revival's 1969 anti-war classic "Fortunate Son" alongside Dave Grohl and Zac Brown, with many conservative critics saying that the song's message was disrespectful to the veterans that the concert was honoring. In response to the outcry, CCR frontman John Fogerty, writer of "Fortunate Son," has released a statement defending Springsteen's performance.
"'Fortunate Son' is a song I wrote during the Vietnam War over 45 years ago," Fogerty said in the statement, via Rolling Stone. "As an American and a songwriter, I am proud that the song still has resonance. I do believe that its meaning gets misinterpreted and even usurped by various factions wishing to make their own case. What a great country we have that a song like this can be performed in a setting like Concert for Valor."
The lyrics to "Fortunate Son" criticize those in the U.S. government who rally for wars that are ultimately fought by the country's poor and underprivileged. Fogerty himself was drafted into the U.S. military in the mid-1960s, before CCR was formed.
"Years ago, an ultraconservative administration tried to paint anyone who questioned its policies as 'un-American,'" Fogerty's statement continues. "That same administration shamefully ignored and mistreated the soldiers returning from Vietnam. As a man who was drafted and served his country during those times, I have ultimate respect for the men and women who protect us today and demand that they receive the respect that they deserve."
Rolling Stone points out that Fogerty performed "Fortunate Son" last week for the PBS concert special A Salute to the Troops: In Performance at the White House, which was not met with any controversy, despite the fact that it, too, was a concert honoring our veterans — maybe nobody saw it because it was on PBS?
Even at the Concert for Valor, Springsteen's performance of his own anti-war hit "Born in the U.S.A." garnered little criticism, which goes to show how unpredictable public outrage can be.
Check out a fan-shot video of Springsteen's "Fortunate Son" performance here:
Readers: What do you make of the controversy? Comment below.