Here is my analysis of the lyrics:
Each of the 3 main verses are describing a different status of society.
Some folks are born to wave the flag,
Ooh, they’re red, white, and blue.
And when the band plays “Hail to the chief”,
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord,
Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
Lord, don’t they help themselves, oh.
But when the taxman comes to the door,
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes,
Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord,
And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Ooh, they only answer More! More! More! yoh,
My Historical Analysis of “Fortunate Son”: by Caitlin Lambert
Creedence Clearwater Revival, (CCR) was in its early stages of band development right as the Vietnam War began. The band was not officially called “Creedence Clearwater Revival” until about 1968. (“Creedence Clearwater Revival”). CCR is considered to be a core band during the Vietnam War. They were popular for their country rock style and political opinionated songs like “Fortunate Son.” This music group was the first to point out the division of social classes in America and how the majority of the people fighting in war are of the lower class (“Fortunate Son”). “Fortunate Son” is not only a protest song, but a social commentary of how blue-collar society views the Vietnam War.
The lyrics in “Fortunate Son” are quite plain, blunt, and evoke frustration with American pride. People usually misconstrue the message of this song as being an American pride song or a song that praises war. Not only does “Fortunate Son” go against the Vietnam War, but criticizes American politicians and military officials in the song. The main verses of the song are talking about achieved and ascribed statuses. Politicians and soldiers are the types of achieved statuses mentioned in the lyrics, while wealth is used as an example of an ascribed status in the song.
There are a few religious connotations within Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son.” The singer uses a call and response technique during the song and repeats the chorus verses twice. “Lord” is the only reference to any type of religion in the song. Each time the word is used, it is placed after a verse. This makes the singer seem like he is having a conversation with God. The verses seem to portray the singer as confessing to God what has been happening in the world. Also, the singer knows that he was not ascribed into wealth, high military standing, or high political standing. This song reveals a predestination concept and every person is either ascribed, or born into their social standing. Truly CCR’s song reveals the harsh truth about people not all being “fortunate” in the proud country of America.
Sources: “Creedence Clearwater Revival.” Artistfacts. Artistfacts. Web. 15 Apr. 2012. <http://www.artistfacts.com/detail.php?id=205>.
“Fortunate Son.” By Creedence Clearwater Revival Songfacts. SongFacts. Web. 15 Apr. 2012. <http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1916>.
P.S: I know it’s a lot of writing, but it’s a good insight into a great song, by a band existing during a time of war. Hope it’s worth the read & enjoy the video. :)