The song was written by the Creedence’s lead singer, guitarist and songwriter, John Fogerty. It was included on their 1970 album Cosmo’s Factory, the group’s fifth album. The song’s title and lyrics, as well as the year it was released (1970), have led many to assume that the song is about the Vietnam War. The fact that previous Creedence Clearwater Revival songs such as “Fortunate Son” and “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” were protests of the Vietnam War added to this belief.
However, according to the song’s composer, that’s not really the case. Fogerty, in a
1993 interview with the Los Angeles Times, said,
“ I think a lot of people thought that because of the times, but I was talking about America and the proliferation of guns, registered and otherwise. I’m a hunter and I’m not antigun, but I just thought that people were so gun-happy — and there were so many guns uncontrolled that it really was dangerous, and it’s even worse now. It’s interesting that it has taken 20-odd years to get a movement on that position. ”
The song’s opening featured jungle sound effects created by, according to the band’s bassist Stu Cook, “lots of backwards recorded guitar and piano.” The harmonica part on the song was played by John Fogerty. The song was also Tom Fogerty’s favorite CCR song: “My all-time favorite Creedence tune was “Run Through the Jungle”. . . . It’s like a little movie in itself with all the sound effects. It never changes key, but it holds your interest the whole time. It’s like a musician’s dream. It never changes key, yet you get the illusion it does.”
The song was released as the flipside of a double sided single, along with “Up Around the Bend,” that was released in April 1970. Counted as one chart entry by Billboard’s chart methodology, the single reached number four on the Pop Singles chart (the band’s sixth single to reach the top ten), and eventually was certified gold by the RIAA, for sales of over one million copies. The song has been covered by The Gun Club, Bruce Springsteen, Georgia Satellites, 8 Eyed Spy, Killdozer, Link Wray, The Cramps, and Los Lobos.
Fogerty v. Fantasy
The song was later the subject of controversy when Saul Zaentz, the boss of CCR’s record label, Fantasy Records, which owns the distribution and publishing rights to the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival, brought a series of lawsuits against John Fogerty, including a claim that the music from Fogerty’s 1984 song “The Old Man Down the Road” was too similar to “Run Through the Jungle.” Zaentz won some of his claims against Fogerty, but lost on the copyright issue (Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty). The judge found that an artist cannot plagiarize himself. After winning the case, Fogerty sued Zaentz for the cost of defending himself against the copyright infringement claim. In such (copyright) cases, prevailing defendants seeking recompense were bound to show that original suit was frivolous or made in bad faith.
Fogerty v. Fantasy became precedent when the United States Supreme Court (1993) overturned lower court rulings and awarded attorneys’ fees to Fogerty, without Fogerty having to show that Zaentz’s original suit was frivolous.
“Run Through the Jungle” has appeared in the following films:
Rude Awakening (1989), Air America (1990), Rudy (1993), The Big Lebowski (1998), Radiofreccia (1998), Tropic Thunder (2008) and the TV movie To Heal a Nation. It also appeared on the television series Supernatural in the episode “Sin City” (2008), and on the television series Entourage in the episode “The Scene” (2004). It was also featured in the final episode of the fourth season of Skins (2010).
The song is available as a playable song for the Rock Band series of music video games as downloadable content.
Edited by metawirt on 3 Jun 2014, 23:24
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