Monday, January 7, 2013

"Centerfield" by John Fogerty (1985)

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl

"The dream was a song."

Key Tracks:
The Old Man Down the Road oozes unspoken menace.  I Saw It on T.V. is the song We Didn't Start the Fire aspired to be.  Centerfield TOTALLY rips off La Bamba, but it doesn't matter because it makes baseball seem interesting for four minutes.

Obvious Filler & Swings-and-Misses:
I completely understand why Mr. Greed had to get written.  I just wish it hadn't been included here.  Searchlight is a great idea for a song, but it just doesn't quite get there.

My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately:
Recommended Listening (3/4 stars)

Here are some interesting facts about "Centerfield":

It's the only time I know of when an artist got sued for plagiarizing himself.

I know this particular copy is an early one because the last track is titled Zanz Kant Danz.  Later versions were changed to "Vanz" after Fogerty got sued (again) by his former manager Saul Zantz.

John Fogerty doesn't get nearly enough credit as a guitar player.

In tiny font, tucked away in the bottom corner of the back cover, is the following, seemingly innocuous, statement: "Also available on cassette and compact disc."

Seriously, John Fogerty doesn't get nearly enough credit as a guitar player.

So, is it an album?  Yes.  "Centerfield" is clearly the work of a man reflecting back over his life, warts and all.  Some of it is happy; some of it is incredibly pissed off.  Some of the reflections are explicitly stated throughout the course of a song; others are subtly woven in via a lyrical phrase or an appropriated guitar riff.  It begins with a meditation on death and ends with a vitriolic rant (but it's a very singalong-able rant); it is strewn with deep wells of hope and joy.  I think I'm going to go a step further and call "Centerfield" a theme album.

Up next, we get our third LP in a row from 1985.  This time, it's "Come Out and Play" by Twisted Sister.  No, that song's not on this record.  Neither is that other song.

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