Fortunate Son

"Fortunate Son" is a song by the American rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival released on their fourth studio album, Willy and the Poor Boys in November 1969. It was previously released as a single, together with "Down on the Corner", in September 1969. It soon became an anti-war movement anthem, an expressive symbol of the counterculture's opposition to U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War and solidarity with the soldiers fighting it. The song has been featured extensively in pop culture depictions of the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement.

The song reached number 14 on the United States charts on November 22, 1969, the week before Billboard changed its methodology on double-sided hits. The tracks combined to climb to number 9 the next week, on the way to peaking at number 3 three more weeks later, on 20 December 1969. It won the RIAA Gold Disc award in December 1970. Pitchfork Media placed it at number 17 on its list of "The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s". Rolling Stone placed it at number 99 on its "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list. In 2013, the song was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."


The song, released during the peak period of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, is not explicit in its criticism of that war in particular, rather, it "speaks more to the unfairness of class than war itself," according to its author, John Fogerty. "It's the old saying about rich men making war and poor men having to fight them." In 2015, while on the television show The Voice, he also said:According to his 2015 memoir, Fogerty was thinking about David Eisenhower, the grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who married Julie Nixon, the daughter of then-President-elect Richard Nixon in 1968, when he wrote "Fortunate Son."

Interpretive legacy

The song has been widely used to protest military actions as well as elitism in a broader sense in Western society, particularly in the United States; as an added consequence of its popularity, it has even been used in completely unrelated situations, such as to advertise blue jeans.

Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl, and Zac Brown attracted criticism when they performed the song together at the November 2014 Concert for Valor in Washington D.C.. Fogerty, a military veteran, defended their song choice.

Cover versions

The song has since been recorded or performed by many artists. U2 made a cover during Zoo TV Tour era in 1992, appearing on the "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" single and the anniversary album Achtung Baby (Deluxe Edition) of 2011. Wyclef Jean's cover of the song was played over the beginning and ending credits of The Manchurian Candidate (2004). Fogerty recorded a version of the song with Foo Fighters for his 2013 album Wrote a Song for Everyone. It was also covered by Dropkick Murphys on the 2001 album Face to Face vs. Dropkick Murphys.. In 2008, Cat Power included a cover of the song on their Dark End of the Street album. On November 29, 2019, Clutch released their cover version of the song as part of their Weathermaker Vault Series. The band dedicated the song to their manager, Jack Flanagan, who died on October 12, 2019. A [ music video] of the song accompanied the release.

Licensed uses

Video games

The song is used in the introduction sequence of the game Battlefield Vietnam where it is among a list of in-game playable tracks. The song was also used during the E3 announcement trailer for Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam and is also the main menu song for the game and plays mid-game in vehicle radios.

"Fortunate Son" was also included in the game Call of Duty: Black Ops at the start of the level S.O.G. Its use is an anachronism, as the level S.O.G. takes place during the Battle of Khe Sanh, a year before the song is released.

In Homefront, the song is played during the chapter "Golden Gate".

A cover of the song was released as DLC for Rock Band in 2007. The first appearance of the song came out before real instruments were integrated. The original version was made available to download on March 1, 2011, for use in Rock Band 3 PRO mode which takes advantage of the use of a real guitar / bass guitar, along with standard MIDI-compatible electronic drum kits in addition to vocals. The master recording by CCR was made available as well in 2010. The song is also playable on basic controllers in Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock.

The song is briefly played as both its original recording and a solo a cappella rendition, sung by Jessy Carolina, in BioShock Infinite.

Film and television

In the 1980 film Melvin and Howard the song is played after Melvin drops Howard off in Las Vegas.

In the 1994 film Forrest Gump, "Fortunate Son" is featured, and is the introduction song in the scene where Forrest and Bubba are shown flying in a U.S. Army UH-1C Huey helicopter, to the combat zone in South Vietnam, c. 1966, in the Vietnam War.

In the 2004 version of the film The Manchurian Candidate, a cover version of this song performed by Wyclef Jean is featured and is the opening track of the closing credits.

In the 2007 film Live Free or Die Hard this song is featured several times.

In the 2009 episode "In Country...Club" from American Dad! this song plays when Stan brings his son to a Vietnam War reenactment. The song however was not credited.

In the 2010 film Little White Lies (called the French Big Chill, in part for its use of American rock classics), "Fortunate Son," performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival is featured.

In the 2010 episode "Chuck Versus the Beard" from the show Chuck, this song is covered by the band Jeffster!.

In the 2012 film Battleship, the original CCR version plays over the closing credits.

In the 2016 film War Dogs this song is featured.

In 2016, this song was included in the soundtrack album for the film Suicide Squad.

In the 2017 film Logan Lucky this song is featured during a montage sequence.

In the 2018 Family Guy episode "Family Guy Through the Years", the song is played when Quagmire describes his Vietnam experience, which he heard constantly due to its association with the war.

On June 28, 2018, an official music video for the song was finally produced. It shows people doing lots of fun, anti-war activities, with the words "It ain't me" whenever the song hits the chorus.

In the 2019 American Horror Story: 1984 episode "Rest in Pieces" this song is featured.

In a 2019 special of Amazon's car show The Grand Tour, the song is featured.

In the 2020 episode "Sing It Again" of Grey's Anatomy (season_16), a cover of this song is used as background music.


A highly edited version was used in a Wrangler commercial because John Fogerty "long ago signed away legal control of his old recordings to Creedence's record label, Fantasy Records." In this case, the advertiser eventually stopped using the song, as Fogerty related in a later interview: