Sunday, December 21, 2014

"Jack & Diane" by John Cougar

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  1116
Date:  07/24/1982
Debut:  69
Peak:  1 (4 weeks)
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  John Mellencamp (still "Cougar" at the time) broke through to the masses with the #2 hit "Hurt So Good" from his #1 LP "American Fool." This second single did even better by spending four weeks at #1 (#3 Mainstream Rock). The certified gold record would become (and remain) Mellencamp's biggest chart hit. The hits (along with MTV video airplay) skyrocketed him to superstar status. Audiences loved him. Critics, not all that well. Tagged as a heartland rocker, many critics deemed his music as middle-country, Springsteen-lite. Mellencamp would change their minds in a couple of albums, but for now he was cresting on a huge wave of success.

ReduxReview:  I find it funny looking back now, but I didn't like Mr. Cougar at all. I didn't like him, his swagger, or "Hurt So Good." Then this song came out and I was all about it. If you were in high school at the time this came out, you could easily connect to this tune. I think everyone was either Jack or Diana, or knew them. The arrangement, full of stop and starts, laid out the story perfectly and was different from anything begin played on the radio. It's a killer song and a classic from the period that still gets attention and airplay.


Trivia:  In Mellencamp's original version of this song, Jack and Diane were an interracial couple. Jack was an African American and Diana was white. When Mellencamp handed the song into his label, they balked and asked if Jack could be something else. Initially, Mellecamp said no because that was what the song was about. But after more discussion, he reluctantly made Jack "a football star." Looking back, Mellecamp has said he doesn't regret the change as the pair ended up being one of the most famous couples in music.


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