by Graham Niven - North Carolina, The USA


For a long while I've been attempting to understand the reasons things are as they are and were with the people of CCR.

There are always complex personalities in a group of talented musicians. With innuendoes and accusations comprising much of the public story, I set out to gather as many facts as possible. I don't claim by any means that the following is a complete record of events. This information is but a piece of the puzzle. However, it is based on facts as printed in trade publications, and the actual spoken words of John and Tom Fogerty, and correspondence with Stu Cook.

Here's what I've discovered. To my knowledge, most of this information has never been thoroughly researched or published. Anyone who has any additional information or contradictions to this information is encouraged to address the issue.



The original contracts with Fantasy were signed when Tom Fogerty was the only one of the band members of legal age. (1)

During the life of CCR, the band members were in a constant battle with Fantasy/Saul Zaentz for more than the measly percentage they were originally signed for. The original contract was standard at the time, but Saul Zaentz promised the band members, "When you're successful, we'll give you a new deal, and we'll all share in the pie." (1, 3)

During this same time period, John Fogerty was acting as business manager and CCR themselves frequently did their own public relations work such as advertisements in Billboard magazine, a fan club and standard PR with record dealers such as color posters, etc. (2)

During the CCR days, John Fogerty was so immersed in the writing of the music and controlling the direction of the band, he was lacking in his capacity as manager of the band's financial affairs. This matter became a major point before Tom left, and thereafter. (3)

Fantasy Records was incredibly non-appreciative of the music and success of CCR, despite their bank accounts soaring from CCR's record sales. (1)

While CCR was still active, Fantasy Records/Galaxy Records/Saul Zaentz Co. lawyers and accountants persuaded the band members to have their song and record royalties be held in a trust account at Castle Bank of Nassau, the same controversial bank that Fantasy Records executives had a trust account. The reason for this was tax break/shelter related. Specifically, Saul Zaentz persuaded John this "tax break" would equal a royalty increase. John then convinced the other band members. The tax plan required both Fantasy and CCR to have accounts at the Castle Bank. (3, 4)

Tom Fogerty decided to leave CCR during the recording of "Pendulum", in the fall of 1970. His reasons were stated that he wanted to contribute more to CCR, and sing lead on a few songs. John Fogerty was reluctant to change things within the style of CCR, and would not give up any of the control he'd gathered from the rest of the band, so Tom left. (1, 2, 3)

CCR continued as a three piece act until disbanding in 1972 by mutual decision. (3, 4)

During the early 1970s, attempts were consistently made to have the Bahamian trusts converted to individual accounts elsewhere. The Castle Bank eventually surrendered its Bahamian charter in 1977, moving to Panama, where it dissolved. (4)

John Fogerty filed the original suit in March 1978 in Santa Barbara, CA. In February 1980 the other three group members filed a similar suit in San Francisco Superior Court. The two suits were consolidated for hearing. Fogerty's original suit was against defendants Burton Kanter, a Chicago attorney, Edward J. Arnold, an Oakland accountant, and Barrie D. Engel, an Oakland attorney. They were charged with professional malpractice, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. The suit asked for $10 million in damages. (4)

On April 29, 1983, a jury in San Francisco Superior court ruled in favor of Fogerty, Clifford, Cook, and Fogerty and awarded $8.6 million. John Fogerty was awarded approximately $4.1 million, while his group mates each got approximately $1.5 million. Kantor and Engel were understood to have made settlements of $1.5 million each. Kenneth I. Sidle of Irell & Manella in Los Angeles represented John Fogerty, and John W. Herron represented the three other group members. (4)

Sources: 1) Tom Fogerty interview on audio tape.
2) John Fogerty interview on audio tape.
3) Stu Cook statements via Internet.
4) Billboard Magazine, May 14, 1983.



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