AT RANDOM: Summer with the legends

I have given my friend fair warning when we attend the Supertramp concert June 3 in Kelowna:

The second I hear the opening harmonica riff from the group’s legendary song, School, I will have reached nirvana, such is my adoration for the song off Supertramp’s classic album Crime of the Century.

If I was ever stranded on a desert island and could have three albums with me, as once asked by Facebook (because, naturally, I’d have an endless supply of batteries for my MP3 player in my pockets I guess), Crime of the Century and Breakfast in America would probably be two of three.

Released in 1979, Breakfast in America is arguably Supertramp’s finest work, containing such hits as The Logical Song, Goodbye Stranger and Take the Long Way Home. The Vernon Panthers volleyball team, of which I was a member, sang this entire album while it played – on eight-track! – on the way to a tournament in Trail.

Yes, Roger Hodgson, the lead singer on School, The Logical Song and Take the Long Way Home, among others, is no longer with the group, having been replaced by a sound-alike. While it’s not the same, I can live with it.

I didn’t stop watching MASH when McLean Stevenson left and was replaced by Harry Morgan, nor did I stop checking in on Cheers when Shelley Long moved on and Kirstie Alley stepped in.

The third album that I’d have with me on that island 31I’d have for sentimental reasons, Cosmo’s Factory by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

To the best of my recollection, this is the album that not only introduced me to one of the greatest bands ever, but instilled in me a love of rock and roll, for which I am forever grateful to my older siblings.

I think it was mainly the album cover that first attracted me to CCR. Cosmo’s Factory has a picture of the band in what looks like a studio or garage. Three of them are sitting near the instruments while drummer Doug Clifford – aka Cosmo, the fourth member – was sitting on a very cool looking 10-speed bike wearing red and orange overalls.

Without question, it was lead singer John Fogerty’s voice, his fabulous guitar playing and his magic with words that made me love CCR.

Research suggests Fogerty’s relationship with the band’s record company deteriorated to the point that to get out of the deal, Fogerty had to give up publishing rights to the songs he had written. When the band broke up, Fogerty vowed never to play CCR songs again.

He would still have a successful solo career, giving us such great tunes like Centrefield and The Old Man Down The Road.

But it was during a jam with Bob Dylan in 1987, when Dylan allegedly told Fogerty, ‘If you don’t do ‘Proud Mary,’ people are going to think it’s a Tina Turner song’ that Fogerty began playing CCR songs again.

Just imagine my excitement, then, when my Supertramp friend told me that Fogerty was coming to the North Okanagan (July 14, MotoPlex Speedway).

Nirvana, part two.

I plan to be in attendance at the MotoPlex to see, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest musicians of all-time.

I will be singing along to Centrefield, Old Man, Suzie Q, Fortunate Son, Bad Moon Rising and his legion of other solo and Creedence hits (by the way, it’s beyond my comprehension how Fogerty and CCR had four songs reach #2 on the Billboard charts, but never No. 1).

And, of course, I will be extra vocal when he does Who’ll Stop the Rain and Lookin’ Out My Back Door (both from Cosmo’s Factory).

Fogerty appears two weeks before my 30th high school reunion, where more stories will be recounted and music like Supertramp, AC/DC, Journey and Styx will be played.

The Summer of ‘11 is shaping up to be the Summer of Memories. I can’t wait to stroll down Memory Lane, singing the songs of my youth.

Roger Knox is a reporter for The Morning Star.