John Cougar Mellencamp Sings “Jack and Diane”

Listen to this track by Indiana-born and bred heartland troubadour John Mellancamp, aka Johnny Cougar, aka John Cougar, aka John Cougar Mellencamp (whew!). It’s “Jack and Diane”, his enormous 1982 number one hit single as taken from the album American Fool, his fifth.

The song had enormous impact not only on the charts, but on pop culture during a time when music was becoming more and more stylistically ghettoized. As popular as it was, and is, there’s just something about this one that set it apart, seeming to have a cinematic quality that very few songs at the time contained. By 1982, “Jack and Diane” sounded like a progression for Mellencamp, who was then gathering momentum for a classic run of singles during the eighties and into the early nineties.

“Jack and Diane” concerns itself with two American kids growing up in the heartland and unsure of their places in the world. And yet, as with so many records that help define the times in which they’re released, there is an ocean of meaning underneath the scant story presented here. And ironically, much of it only comes to light as one gets older. Read more

John Mellencamp Sings “Get A Leg Up”

Here’s a clip of radio-friendly  singer-songwriter and Hoosier roots rock hero formerly known as ‘Cougar’ John Mellencamp with his 1991 hit that out-Stoneses the Stones. It’s “Get A Leg Up” as taken from Mellencamp’s Whenever We Wanted. This album is his first not to feature the ‘Cougar’ moniker, as given to him without his permission by the record company when his first album came out.

R&B, rock ‘n’ roll, and pop music is rife with stage named artists from Bo Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters, to Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Elton John, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Sting, Flea, Lady Gaga, and on and on. These artists created and wore their names to suit their music, and their personas on stage. Mellencamp would spend the rest of his career fighting for his name. And here, he claims it, with a knock-it-out-of-the-park rock ‘n’ roll tune that brings it all back home.

Read more