This was originally written by ECPC member Chris Sterba for ECPC’s 70th anniversary in 2010.
Did the classic rock group Creedence Clearwater Revival get its start at our school?
All four members of Creedence Clearwater Revival grew up in El Cerrito, despite the band’s Lousiana-inspired, “swamp rock” sound. In fact, the group’s founding moment occurred just up the street from ECPC. John Fogerty and drummer Doug Clifford met by chance in the music room of Portola Middle School, and the rest was history.
Little has survived from ECPC’s early days that could tell the Fogertys’ story. Fortunately, the local newspaper printed photos of both Tom and John at the school. Five-year old Tom received his “diploma” in a school ceremony in September 1946. The next year “Johnny, age 2” appeared in a dog-pulled wagon as part of an ECPC fund-raising event. Their mother, Lucile, taught music at the school. She was photographed while rehearsing her “offkey orchestra” of ECPC kids in 1946.
The Fogerty family’s involvement in the school was in fact extensive. All five of the Fogerty sons, who grew up at 226 Ramona Street, went to ECPC. Lucile and her husband Galen Robert were very active in both phases of the construction of the school building in 1946-47 and 1949-50. They also published articles in Parents Magazine, and Lucile held several leadership positions, including ECPC President. She then went on to become a special needs teacher in the Mt. Diablo Schools for over twenty years.
The Fogertys and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s other members Stu Cook and Doug “Cosmo” Clifford have long since left El Cerrito. John Fogerty had a major comeback as a solo artist after the group broke up in 1972. He lives in Beverly Hills and still tours worldwide. Tom Fogerty died in 1996, and Lucile and Galen Robert have also passed away. While it’s a stretch to say the band started at ECPC, there’s no doubt that for a few years our school was home to future rock and roll royalty. As Jack Black might say, maybe it was here that these kids learned how to “TAKE IT TO THE MAN.”