Rock legend John Fogerty to deliver USC Thornton Commencement speech

"When I was young, the idea of a popular music program ­— at USC no less — was unthinkable."


Music icon John Fogerty will be the featured speaker at the USC Thornton School of Music’s 2014 Commencement ceremony.

Over his remarkable five-decade career, Fogerty has produced some of the most memorable songs in rock and roll history. As a singer, songwriter and guitarist, he has sold over 100 million records, earning 18 Gold Albums and 10 Platinum Albums. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, won a Grammy Award for his album Blue Moon Swamp in 1997, and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. He was also a recipient of the BMI Icon Award. Fogerty and his chart-topping 1985 single “Centerfield” were honored during the 2010 National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies — the first time the National Baseball Hall of Fame has immortalized a musician or song as part of the annual ceremonies. He is also one of the few musicians honored on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists and 100 Greatest Singers lists.

“We are thrilled to welcome John Fogerty to Thornton to speak to our 2014 graduates,” said Robert Cutietta, Dean of the USC Thornton School of Music. “As a singer, he has an artistic voice that is instantly recognizable to millions of music fans. As a songwriter, he has written some of the greatest songs in rock and roll.”

“I am hugely honored that they asked me to give the commencement speech for the USC Thornton School of Music,” said Fogerty. “When I was young, the idea of a popular music program ­— at USC no less — was unthinkable. It is so inspiring to see how the students and the University have embraced this important and influential part of our cultural lives. This day is so special for my family and me. My son Shane will be graduating with this class. It really doesn’t get any better!”

As the leader of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fogerty forged a distinctive sound combining blues, country, pop, rockabilly, R&B, swamp boogie and Southern fried rock ‘n’ roll — all united by his uniquely evocative lyrical perspective. He was responsible for writing the band’s best-selling singles, including “Proud Mary,” “Bad Moon Rising” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” among others. Creedence Clearwater Revival became one of the most successful bands ever, producing seven full-length albums — six of which have been certified Platinum or Multi-Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Fogerty’s solo career proved to be equally impressive. Among the many highlights is 1985’s Centerfield. With a trio of timeless hit singles — including “The Old Man Down the Road,” “Rock And Roll Girls,” and the irresistible title track — the album was certified 2x Platinum. At the 1998 GRAMMY Awards, he won the award for “Best Rock Album” for Blue Moon Swamp. Fogerty’s latest release, Wrote a Song For Everyone, marks his ninth studio solo album and is a celebration of his revered songbook. The album holds the distinction of receiving a rare 5 star rating from Rolling Stone, the only album released in 2013 to receive such a score.

Today, Fogerty continues to play for sold-out audiences worldwide. His incredibly high-powered performances have been hailed by critics and fans for his fiery guitar prowess and phenomenal vocals. He will be going on a worldwide tour this summer. To learn more, go to

The Commencement ceremonies will take place on Friday, May 16 beginning at 10:45 a.m. on the Ramo Hall South Lawn on the main USC campus. For more information, please visit the USC Commencement site.

TAGS: Contemporary Music,

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