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John Fogerty enlists friends to rework past hits on new album

Singer John Fogerty poses in the backroom after performing at the 11th season finale of "American Idol" in Los Angeles, California, May 23,
Singer John Fogerty poses in the backroom after performing at the 11th season finale of "American Idol" in Los Angeles, California, May 23,

By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The new John Fogerty album features the former Creedence Clearwater Revival singer teaming up with top names in country and rock music, along with some R&B flavor, for a fresh take on his most popular songs.

Fogerty, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his Creedence band mates in 1993, told Reuters his wife came up with the collaborative concept behind "Wrote a Song for Everyone," which was released Tuesday on Fogerty's 68th birthday.

"She suggested getting all my favorite artists to do various songs, and it seemed like a great idea - to do fresh arrangements and interpretations of them," Fogerty said.

The 14-track album, Fogerty's ninth solo studio album and first since 2009's "The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again," revamps some of his biggest hits from both Creedence Clearwater Revival and his solo work, along with some new tracks.

The album includes collaborations with rockers Foo Fighters, country singers Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley and R&B singer Jennifer Hudson, who was accompanied by blues musician Allen Toussaint on one of Fogerty's best known hits, 1969's "Proud Mary."

"Wrote a Song for Everyone" took Fogerty, who also served as producer, two years to complete, and he compared the logistics to lining up so many guests to a "military-style operation."

"It's remarkably hard to get 14 different artists organized, as they're all busy with their own careers, touring and recording," Fogerty said. "Everyone wanted to do it but I had no idea it'd be so difficult."

The hardest artist to pin down was country singer Alan Jackson, who ended up on the 1971 track "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?"

'THE MUSIC STILL SOUNDS GOOD'

"I was very happily surprised when he said yes," Fogerty said. "Some of the artists who I know, like Bob Seger, I could just call up and get an answer right away. But even if you're friends, you don't want to put anyone on the spot. So you put the idea out there and let it simmer for a while."

Fogerty let his guest artists select the song they wanted to record with him and spin their own interpretation of it.

The album was recorded at studios in Los Angeles, New Orleans and Nashville, Tennessee. Creedence's 1969 Vietnam War-era anthem "Fortunate Son" was recorded with Foo Fighters at their 606 studio in Los Angeles, which was the subject of recent documentary, "Sound City."

Along with gearing up for the album's release, Fogerty found time to join the Rolling Stones on a rendition of "It's All Over Now" at their May 8 San Jose show.

Fogerty said he and Stones guitarist Keith Richards had kept in touch over the years and he recently helped Mick Jagger add handclaps to some tracks that were never released from the recording sessions for the 1978 album "Some Girls."

"When they asked me to do the show, I was thrilled - especially as I've always been a huge fan and one of the first times I ever saw them was playing a show in San Jose in 1966," Fogerty said.

Fogerty, who plans to hit the road to promote the new album this year, has an explanation for why his work and that of his contemporaries still resonates.

"I think it's down to the songs," he said. "The music still sounds good today, and my own kids listen to it. It's just never been topped."

(Editing by Eric Kelsey, Piya Sinha-Roy and Bill Trott)

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