John Fogerty is not a happy camper. The Creedence Clearwater Revival singer has criticized the new Taraji P. Henson movie Proud Mary, saying creators of the film borrowed the name and modified lyrics from his famous 1969 CCR song of the same name. In a lengthy statement posted to social media, John Fogerty blasted the movie for allegedly taking a page from his songbook without asking him.
In his statement, Fogerty admitted that he doesn’t know much about the Proud Mary movie except the fact that it is “about a black woman who is also an assassin” and her name is Mary. But the singer-songwriter is “irked” to have his song associated with the flick.
“I wrote the song ‘Proud Mary’ 50 years ago, and I was very excited to have written such a good song,” John Fogerty said. “In fact, it was my very first good song. My songs are special to me. Precious. So it irks me when people seek to capitalize on the popularity of my music and the goodwill it has earned with the public for their own financial gain.”
John Fogerty went on to reiterate that although the movie is named after his song and promotional posters include a play on his lyrics, he has nothing to do with it.
“This movie has nothing to do with me or my song. They simply picked the title and wrote a completely fictitious story around it.”
While the original lyrics to “Proud Mary” included the line, “Working for the man every night and day,” Fogerty noted that “the movie poster has my lyrics changed to read ‘Killing for the Man every night and day.'”
Although he hasn’t seen the movie, John Fogerty also explained that his song’s original intent does not jive with the movie’s apparent plot.
“I wrote the song about a mythical riverboat, cruising on a mythical river, in a mythical time,” John revealed. “Perhaps, the setting was ‘back in time’ on the Mississippi River. It was obviously a metaphor about leaving painful, stressful things behind for a more tranquil and meaningful life. Far from a story about killing people for money.”
Proud Mary producers Screen Gems responded to John Fogerty’s complaint about the use of his song, revealing that they did indeed have permission to use the famous song and suggested that the CCR legend should actually go see the film.
“We would love Mr. Fogerty to come see the film,” Screen Gems said in a statement to ABC News. “He would see that his complaint that the film has nothing to do with the song’s message as ‘a metaphor about leaving painful, stressful things behind for a more tranquil and meaningful life’ is inaccurate. That is precisely what our Mary is looking to do, and Taraji nails it perfectly.”
A Screen Gems representative also confirmed that producers worked closely with the music publisher of “Proud Mary” and that they fully cleared the rights to use the song’s title and lyrics in the movie and its marketing.
John Fogerty has had a long history of copyright complaints. In 1993, the former Creedence Clearwater Revival singer was accused of plagiarizing his own song, the CCR classic “Run Through the Jungle.”
According to Mentalfloss, Fogerty’s 1985 solo hit “The Old Man Down the Road” was deemed by CCR’s old record label as “basically ‘Run Through the Jungle’ with different words,” so they sued Fogerty. The court determined the two songs weren’t similar enough to be considered for copyright infringement, so Fogerty headed to the U.S. Supreme Court to get his more than $1 million in legal fees reimbursed. In addition, in 2002, John Fogerty called out Wrangler jeans for using his CCR song “Fortunate Son” in their commercials, according to SF Gate.
You can watch the Proud Mary trailer below.