Fortunate Son Songwriting
Zero in on the lyrics for deeper meaning.
"Fortunate Son" is extremely simple in the songwriting department; it's Fogerty's impassioned vocal delivery, more than any kind of intricate poetic structure, that carries the song. There's no real rhyme structure in "Fortunate Son": the only rhyming couplets come with "son" and "one." Nothing too complicated.
In a move sure to bother uptight grammarians and unlikely to be noticed much by anyone else, Fogerty also makes extensive use of the double negative. In a couple cases, he even pulls out the rarely seen triple negative—"I ain't no fortunate one, no." But in the end does this really matter? Rules are meant to be broken…at least when it comes to writing rock anthems.
The simple structure in "Fortunate Son" leaves plenty of space for Fogerty to show off his strengths as a songwriter, which lie principally in his ability to evoke strong feelings through strong imagery. Take one of the more arresting lines in the song, for example: "And when the band plays hail to the chief/ Ooh they point the cannon at you, lord." What a powerful image: a military band plays "Hail to the Chief" for President Nixon until Fogerty suddenly turns the ceremonial cannons straight at you. What is supposed to be a patriotic sign of respect for the Commander in Chief suddenly becomes far more antagonistic, bringing to mind images of warfare. Fogerty also makes great use of simile with the line "star spangled eyes," creating a memorable image of somebody completely blinded by patriotism.
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