It’s well known that “The Old Man Down the Road” on the album Centerfield in 1984 was the subject of a lawsuit in which Creedence Clearwater Revival’s old label, Fantasy Records, accused John Fogerty of plagiarizing himself. Fogerty won. Basically because the judge said Fogerty sounds like himself so it’s not plagiarism. Obviously. What’s less known is that the song that made it to number 10 on the Billboard hot 100 grew out of one John was writing called “Somewhere Down the Road.” He tells how it happened.
“Hidden in the lyrics of that first go around, there was this old man — ‘I met this old man and he had a suitcase covered with rattlesnake hide.’ Well, pretty quickly I realized that ‘Somewhere Down the Road’ is pretty lame and kind of vague, but that the character with the suitcase covered with rattlesnake hide was a pretty good image — you could see that pretty well. So I re-wrote the song and eventually settled on ‘The Old Man Down the Road.’”
So he plagiarized himself again?