It seems John Fogerty is not looking forward to the release of Proud Mary, the upcoming Babak-Najafi-directed thriller starring Taraji P. Henson in the titular role: a Boston assassin named Mary Goodwin. The Creedence Clearwater Revival founder, despite once having been in court for plagiarizing himself, is taking issue with the way his intellectual property is being used, though there is no indication that he is attempting to take legal action. He says he was not asked by the filmmakers about his band’s Top 5 1969 hit, which also subsequently became a smash and signature song for Ike and Tina Turner, being used as the film’s title. The Ike and Tina Turner version, notably, is also used in previews for the film.
Yesterday, Fogerty posted a statement about the film, which he says he has not seen. “This movie has nothing to do with me, or my song,” he wrote. “They simply picked the title and wrote a completely fictitious story around it.” His main ideological issue with it does not seem to be about any literal use of his music, but mainly from the appropriation of one of the song’s central lyrics in the film’s advertising. “No one ever asked me about using my song this way, or even about the meaning of Proud Mary,” he wrote. “The movie poster has my lyrics changed to read…. “killing for the Man every night and day.” Fogerty explained that this felt drastically out of step with the intention of the song, which he describes as “a metaphor about leaving painful, stressful things behind for a more tranquil and meaningful life. Far from a story about killing people for money.”
Read Fogerty’s full statement below.
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” 50 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.
Read his full statement on the film and why it “irks” him below.