KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

Thirty Year Thursday – JOHN FOGERTY “EYE OF THE ZOMBIE”

[Welcome to Thirty Year Thursday, the weekly series on my favorite albums of 1986]

Artist: JOHN FOGERTY
Album: EYE OF THE ZOMBIE

John Fogerty - Eye Of The ZombieJohn Fogerty’s 1985 album Centerfield was a joyous surprise that found the former Creedence Clearwater Revival singer/guitarist/songwriter still in top form. It was only the third record he had released since CCR disbanded in 1972, and his first in a decade, so there was no guarantee that he still had an audience who wanted to hear new music from him. Happy (and patient) fans rewarded him with a chart-topping album and two Top 20 singles, and he rewarded us with “that voice” which sounded as good as ever. How would he follow-up that massive success? With Eye Of The Zombie, an album that alienated many fans with a number of synth-drenched pop tunes. This was definitely not Centerfield Part 2. I won’t try to convince anyone that it’s a great album but I loved this new direction and I still think it’s a fun listen. The front cover, however, is a completely different story.

“Change In The Weather” is the undeniable highlight, a classic-sounding swampy Fogerty song that just might be the best thing in his post-Creedence discography. The instrumental “Goin’ Back Home” is a Pink Floyd-inspired way to open the record, featuring stinging lead guitar over synth-choir vocals. This leads into the rockin’ “Eye Of The Zombie” with the 41-year-old singer sounding as fierce as he did nearly 2 decades earlier. “Wasn’t That A Woman” is a lively synth-pop nugget and both “Knockin’ On Your Door” & “Soda Pop” are repetitive but fun tracks with infectious grooves. All three of these will scare away anyone with an aversion to synthetic ‘80s sounds but I’ve always loved them. Even lesser songs like “Headlines” and “Violence Is Golden” are worth hearing simply for Fogerty’s guitar work. “Sail Away” closes the album in strong fashion with atmospheric verses and shuffling choruses, as well as some of the most optimistic lyrics here: “Leavin’ all of this doubt behind, gonna sail away.” I’m eager to find out if anyone else enjoyed this album when it first appeared and I’m equally curious about how it sounds to someone hearing it for the first time 30 years later. I remain a fan even though it’s not the first Fogerty album I would recommend to newcomers.

Advertisements

21 comments on “Thirty Year Thursday – JOHN FOGERTY “EYE OF THE ZOMBIE”

  1. ianbalentine
    April 21, 2016

    Big CCR fan, but haven’t heard much of Fogerty’s solo output. I saw him live during the Blue Moon Swamp phase, and he was amazing, and I of course know Centerfield and other highlights, but this? I knew nothing about this. Maybe the hideous cover sent me running, I don’t know. Once again you’ve convinced me to at least give it a listen, which I will this weekend. It sounds like a fascinating left-turn type of an album.

    Like

    • Ian, as someone with a strong affinity for ’80s music, I think you’ll find a lot to like on Eye Of The Zombie. It’s not a lost classic but it’s certainly overlooked by a lot of fans (and Fogerty himself, I believe) and deserves a better reputation. If only for “Change In The Weather” it’s worth checking out. Hope you enjoy it.

      I also saw him on the Blue Moon Swamp tour and he was incredible. It’s definitely up there among the best concerts I ever attended. I also don’t think I’ve ever seen an artist as enthusiastic about performing as he was that night. Whenever he thanked the crowd he seemed genuinely pleased that everyone was enjoying the show. How could we not with a catalog of music like that. Also, how good was his guitar playing?

      Like

      • ianbalentine
        April 22, 2016

        My wife and I attended and I have to admit my expectations weren’t all that high, but like you I ended up thinking it was one of the best I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying a lot (because I’ve seen a lot). His guitar playing was freaking incredible, Rich, and I seem to remember a definite attitude of gratitude as well, but forgot about that until you mentioned it just now.

        Like

      • Nice to know we had similar experiences with our first Fogerty concerts. I had no idea what to expect that night. Would he play any Creedence material? How would his voice sound live? It had been so long since he toured and he hadn’t appeared on TV much either. To say I was blown away would be an understatement. I would have been happy just hearing his solo material but the fact that more than half the songs were from his CCR days made it extra special.

        Like

  2. Murphy's Law
    April 21, 2016

    I don’t think ‘ve heard any of this…

    Like

  3. Jeff Kempin
    April 21, 2016

    I saw Fogerty during the Revival tour and it was fantastic. I remember Eye of the Zombie when it first came out. It seemed kind of odd sounding, especially after the retro classic Centerfield. I recently read Fogerty’s autobiography, Fortunate Son, (which is a great read, btw) and I’m pretty sure alcohol was playing a large part in Fogerty’s life around this time. I know he doesn’t really like this album much, judging by what I’ve read. I still like this album for the songs you mentioned, Rich, and if I ever come across a vinyl copy, I’d buy it.

    Like

    • I think a lot of fans were perplexed by Eye Of The Zombie after the “retro classic” (great description) of Centerfield. I had forgotten that Fogerty went through a dark time in the ’80s, which explains his decade-plus hiatus that ended with the incredible Blue Moon Swamp. I’m glad you also enjoyed Eye Of The Zombie. I wasn’t sure how many people even gave the album a shot. I bet the cover scared away a lot of potential buyers. I guess it’s better than a zombie-Fogerty, although that would probably be very popular right now. Maybe it’s time for a deluxe reissue with new artwork.

      Like

  4. 80smetalman
    April 22, 2016

    I loved “Centerfield” but this album seemed to pass me by.

    Like

    • Although this album is drastically different than Centerfield I think there’s plenty to enjoy here…as long as you can handle some of those ’80s sonic choices. As I said before, “Change In The Weather” is as good as it gets.

      Like

  5. Geen Geenie
    April 22, 2016

    I have never heard of this but Damn! Do I like that cover image!!! 😉

    Like

  6. Geen Geenie
    April 22, 2016

    p.s that wasn’t sarcasm by the way, i REALLY love the cover, and the jokey album title too. (I am a sucker for 80s werewolves and horror movies!) Change in the Weather sounds like it belongs in an episode of Supernatural (it’s probably been in one, I just didn’t know it!) x

    Like

    • Wow Bridgeen, you might be the only person in the world who likes that album cover. Congratulations. Haha. It’s certainly striking but I’ve always thought it was ugly and not representative of the music (other than maybe “Change In The Weather,” which has an ominous feel). Also, why is he a werewolf while the album title refers to zombies? He missed the zombie zeitgeist by about 25 years.

      I recently started watching Supernatural on Netflix. Although I love horror movies, the “supernatural” genre isn’t usually my thing, especially when it comes to TV shows. Then I started seeing bits of it on one of the TVs at my gym last year and I picked up a cool sense of humor. So far I’m really enjoying it, but I’m only halfway through Season 2. At my pace it’ll take me a couple of years to catch up to the current episodes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Geen Geenie
        April 23, 2016

        LOL! Well that would be just like me. I see the Supernatural series humour in the cover and the title, Eye of the Zombie instead of eye of the tiger- Mam some show’s got to have made a pastiche episode or film based on that by now surely?! Also when did you say this came out, 1986? Maybe he was just really into American werewolf in London/Thriller / The Howling/Teenwolf et all. Werewolves were big in the 80s (well early 80’s he’s a little bit late.) I think you will like Supernatural, but I’m tempted to say stop at the end of series 5 (that’s when the original show runner’s story arc finishes.) You’ll no doubt spot lots more cheesy 80’s rock in there (Dean does a mean Eye of the Tiger sing along- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=208SiwbYrsc ) LOL. YOU’RE WELCOME! 😉

        Like

      • Thanks for sharing that clip of Jensen Ackles doing “Eye Of The Tiger.” Humor is the main reason I’ve gotten into Supernatural and it’s nice to see them having a laugh on set. As for Fogerty’s Eye Of The Zombie, it was released in ’86 (hence being part of my Thirty Year Thursday series) so he was a little behind the curve with the werewolf love of the early-’80s. Then again, he’s always been a man out of time, and that somehow makes his music seem timeless. This is one of the only albums he’s released that’s date-stamped to a particular time, thanks to the synths & drum sounds.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Geen Geenie
        April 25, 2016

        (That’s not even an out-take btw, im pretty sure that’s in-episode!) I like the man out of time analogy – i think the greats always are. Like Bowie, up to date and strangely out of date, all at the same time 😉

        Like

      • Wow, if that’s really part of an episode I can’t wait to catch up on the series, although I can’t imagine how that would fit into the show. Maybe if he changed the lyrics to “Yellow eye of the demon.”

        Good point about Fogerty being a man out of time like Bowie, and it’s true that they both sound timeless.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Geen Geenie
        April 25, 2016

        Well Dean loves his 80’s soft rock- it doesn’t need any more than that to belong in an episode 😉

        Like

      • Is it only Dean who loved ’80s soft rock or does that also apply to Jensen Ackles? It’s clear that the writers/creators of Supernatural are classic rock fans.

        Like

      • Geen Geenie
        April 26, 2016

        I believe the instance of 80s soft rock is down to original creator and show runner Eric Kripe. I went to double check that here: http://www.supernaturalwiki.com/index.php?title=Category:Music And found our Jensen does fancy himself as a bit of a singer too 😉

        Like

      • That’s a great link, Bridgeen. Thanks. I don’t want to read too much since I’m only in the middle of Season 2 and want to be surprised as I continue watching, but it’s great to know that Kripke is a big Triumph fan. More people should know about Canada’s #2 prog/hard rock power trio of the ’70s & ’80s.

        I always find it interesting when a showrunner passes on his/her particular musical obsessions to the much-younger characters. It worked really well on Freaks & Geeks because the show took place in 1980-81 and that’s what the kids would have been listening to. On How I Met Your Mother, however, there are many references that I don’t think people in that age group would have been making…but I still enjoyed it because I have the same tastes as that show’s creators.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to KamerTunesBlog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 310 other followers

Archives

%d bloggers like this: