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Residents are proud to be ‘Stuck in Lodi’

Lodi was put on the map in a big way in 1969, when Creedence Clearwater Revival recorded a hit song lamenting being “stuck” in what others perceive as livable, lovable Lodi.

But residents don’t seem to be offended by the tune.

“I take absolutely no offense to it,” said Tammy Jones, who has lived in Lodi and Galt for more than 30 years and currently lives in Wallace. “I think it’s a catchy tune.”

“When you hear it, the words go through your head for awhile,” said Lodi Mayor Larry Hansen, who moved to Lodi in 1970 and is the city’s former police chief. “I’ve always enjoyed it.”

Rumors have persisted for years that the band got stranded in Lodi on a Greyhound bus, in a car or via some other mode of transportation, thus inspiring the song.

John Fogerty
John Fogerty

However, John Fogerty, who was lead singer and writer for Creedence Clearwater Revival at the time, says that’s not what happened.

“The first time I ever heard the word ‘Lodi,’ I thought it was the coolest sounding name, so I saved it for the longest time,” Fogerty wrote on a Web site called Creedence Online.

“So I sat down and wrote about being on the road, being a musician — not the happy, glamorous part. Rather, I projected myself ahead maybe 10 years, as a country musician singing that minor hit I had 10 years ago,” Fogerty wrote.

“There I was,” he said. “I wasn’t in Los Angeles. I’m not even in Cucamonga. I’m way out in Lodi! The song went from ‘Lodi’ to ‘Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi, again,’ not a happy thought.”

City Councilwoman Susan Hitchcock, who lived in Cupertino when “Lodi” became a hit, said she loved Creedence Clearwater Revival. And she isn’t offended by the lyrics either.

“Thirty-five years ago, there probably wasn’t alot going on,” Hitchcock said. “Back then, they might have been stuck in Lodi. Today, when they visit Lodi, they will be stuck on Lodi.”

A song, a town forever linked

By News-Sentinel Staff

Written by John C. Fogerty and performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival, the song “Lodi” was released in 1969 as a cut on the group’s “Green River” album.

It was the “B” or flip-side of the hit song “Bad Moon Rising,” and peaked at only No. 52 on the Hot 100 singles chart.

But “Lodi” — with its catchy refrain of “Oh! Lord, stuck in Lodi again” — became one of the group’s most enduring songs.

Lodi

Just about a year ago, I set out on the road,
Seekin’ my fame and fortune, lookin’ for a pot of gold.
Things got bad, and things got worse. I guess you know the tune.
Oh! Lord, stuck in Lodi again.
Rode in on the Greyhound; I’ll be walkin’ out if I go.
I was just passin’ through, must be seven months or more.
Ran out of time and money; looks like they took my friends.
Oh! Lord, I’m stuck in Lodi again.
The man from the magazine said I was on my way.
Somewhere I lost connections, ran out of songs to play.
I came into town, a one-night stand. Looks like my plans fell through.
Oh! Lord, stuck in Lodi again.
If I only had a dollar for every song I’ve sung,
And every time I’ve had to play while people sat there drunk.
You’d know, I’d catch the next train back to where I live.
Oh! Lord, stuck in Lodi again.
Oh! Lord, stuck in Lodi again.

— Written by John Fogerty

That’s Hitchcock’s theme when she promotes the town.

“Anyone who lives in Lodi is stuck on Lodi, not stuck in Lodi,” she said.

Officials from the Lodi Chamber of Commerce and the Lodi Conference and Visitors Bureau hear the “stuck in Lodi” line on a regular basis from out-of-towners.

Nancy Beckman, who heads the conference and visitors bureau, says she hears about it when she goes to trade shows throughout California.

“People see us; they break out in song and dance,” Beckman said.

Like other Lodi residents, Beckman isn’t insulted about Fogerty claiming to be “stuck.” “Even though a lot of people perceive the song as being negative, it has gotten our name out there,” Beckman said. “It’s a way to open up a conversation.”

Ray Crow, who works in administrative services for the chamber, echoed Beckman’s statements.

“I tell them that all the time. It’s our claim to fame,” Crow said. “We’re stuck in Lodi happily.”

Lodi resident Tanya Hernandez isn’t offended by the song, either.

“I see it as an interesting positive,” Hernandez said. “Kids feel they are stuck in whatever town they live in.”

Crystal D’Angelo, a 16-year Lodi resident, enjoys Lodi, but she sees some truth to the lyrics.

“You can relate to it, especially if you’re middle or lower class,” D’Angelo said. “You’re stuck in Lodi. You can’t leave Lodi.”

Kelly Vandenburg, a lifelong Lodi resident, enjoys the song as well. In fact, she finds it a useful tool.

“I think it helps me reference it to people on the phone,” Vandenburg said. “They say, ‘What is it? Loo-dee? Law-dee? Low-dee?’ ”

Beckman looks at the glass as being half full instead of half empty.

“You have to take anything that can be perceived as negative and make it as a positive,” Beckman said. “We say we’re happy to be stuck in Lodi.”
©2004 Lodi News-Sentinel