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Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl Play Anti-War ‘Fortunate Son’ at Veterans Day Concert

They received criticism for the song choice at HBO's Concert for Valor

Update: Creedence Clearwater Revival’s John Fogerty has issued a response.

Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl, and Zac Brown joined forces Tuesday night to play a blistering cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1969 track, “Fortunate Son,” at the Veterans Day Concert for Valor in Washington, D.C. Although the trio’s energetic and passionate performance did the song justice, some have criticized their decision to play the anti-war anthem at an event intended to honor the troops.

The original CCR track criticized blind patriotism and the unfairness of the draft during the Vietnam war, but a writer from the neoconservative magazine the Weekly Standard opined that the song was “a particularly terrible choice given that ‘Fortunate Son’ is, moreover, an anti-draft song, and this concert was largely organized to honor those who volunteered to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.” The Washington Post, meanwhile, explained that the song was written a half century ago for a different war under different circumstances, and therefore the performance wasn’t worth getting in a fuss about. Both the Post and the Weekly Standard readily admitted that, political themes aside, “Fortunate Son” is one hell of a song. Watch a fan-captured video above. 

CCR’s John Fogerty responded to the small controversy on Wednesday, standing behind his classic song and expressing his support for the troops. 

“Fortunate Son” is a song I wrote during the Vietnam War over forty-five years ago.  As an American and a songwriter I am proud that the song still has resonance. I do believe that its meaning gets misinterpreted and even usurped by various factions wishing to make their own case.  At its core I believe the issue is really about what a great country we have that a song like this can be performed in a setting like Concert For Valor.

Years ago, an ultra-conservative administration tried to paint anyone who questioned its policies as “un-American”. That same administration shamefully ignored and mistreated the soldiers returning from Vietnam.

As a man who was drafted and served his country during those times, I have ultimate respect for the men and women who protect us today and demand that they receive the respect that they deserve.