The Old Man Down the Road

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"The Old Man Down the Road"
Single by John Fogerty
from the album Centerfield
Released January 15, 1985
Recorded 1984
Genre Roots rock
Length 3:34
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) John Fogerty
Producer(s) John Fogerty

"The Old Man Down the Road" is a popular song written and recorded by John Fogerty. It was released in 1985 and became a top 10 hit single, peaking at #10 on the US singles chart, and spending three weeks at the #1 spot on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart.[1] It was lifted from Fogerty's comeback album Centerfield. The video for the song, popular on MTV at the time, features an extended single camera sequence that follows an electric guitar cord through various scenes. Fogerty himself appears only in the last twenty seconds of the music video.

Fogerty v. Zaentz[edit]

Saul Zaentz, owner of Fantasy Records claimed that "The Old Man Down The Road" shared the same chorus as "Run Through the Jungle", a song from Fogerty's days with Creedence Clearwater Revival years before. (Fogerty had relinquished copy and publishing rights of his Creedence songs to Zaentz and Fantasy, in exchange for release from his contractual obligations to same.) Zaentz sued (Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty) but the defendant Fogerty ultimately prevailed when he showed that the two songs were whole, separate and distinct compositions. Bringing his guitar to the witness stand, he played excerpts from both songs, demonstrating that many songwriters (himself included) have distinctive styles that can make different compositions sound similar to less discerning ears.[2]

After prevailing as defendant, Fogerty sued Zaentz for the cost of defending himself against the copyright infringement. In such (copyright) cases, prevailing defendants seeking recompense were bound to show that original suit was frivolous or made in bad faith. This case, Fogerty v. Fantasy, Inc., became precedent when the U.S. Supreme Court (1993) overturned lower court rulings and awarded attorneys' fees to Fogerty, without Fogerty having to show that Zaentz's original suit was frivolous.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004)The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 232.
  2. ^ "The Time John Fogerty Was Sued for Ripping Off John Fogerty" Mental Floss. Retrieved 16 August 2013.