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John Fogerty is Irked That There's a Movie Called "Proud Mary"

by VVN Music

Tomorrow (January 12), a new movie is being released called Proud Mary.  Starring Taraji P. Henson (Empire), the movie is described as about a "hitwoman working for an organized crime family in Boston. Mary's life is completely turned around when she meets a young boy whose path she crosses when a professional hit goes awry."

John Fogerty is less than enthusiastic about the title of the movie.  As a matter of fact, he has written a lengthy comment about how much the title "irks" him.

There is a movie in current release called "Proud Mary." I don’t know much about it other than this. The main character is a black woman who is also an assassin. And apparently, her name is Mary.

I wrote the song "Proud Mary" fifty years ago, and I was very excited to have written such a good song. 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 good will it has earned with the public for their own financial gain. Over the years, I have often found myself directly opposed to these uses.

This movie has nothing to do with me, or my song. They simply picked the title and wrote a completely fictitious story around it.

Back in the day, I had decided that I needed to become more professional, more organized about my songwriting efforts.

I bought a little notebook and after few days, I wrote down the words Proud Mary. It was the very first entry in this book. At first, I didn’t even know what those words meant.

No one ever asked me about using my song this way, or even about the meaning of Proud Mary. The movie poster has my lyrics changed to read…. “killing for the Man every night and day”

I wrote the song about a mythical riverboat, cruising on a mythical river, in a mythical time. 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.

Nothing has been mentioned about legal action. It's questionable whether such a case would even stand up in court as there have been many movies named the same as popular songs without there being any direct tie.

Fogerty recorded "Proud Mary" with Creedence Clearwater Revival for their album Bayou Country with the song being released as a single in January 1969. The song went to number 2 in the U.S. (#1 in Record World magazine) and 8 in the U.K.

Two years later, Ike and Tina Turner returned the song to the charts, taking it to number 4 in the U.S. and 5 on the R&B Singles.