Monday, June 18, 2018

"Lonely Ol' Night" by John Cougar Mellencamp

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2438
Date:  08/24/1985
Debut:  40
Peak:  6
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  After scoring his second multi-platinum album with Uh-Huh, Mellencamp set out to record an album of songs that had more lyrical depth and that incorporated certain aspects of 60s rock music. He emerged from the studio with his eighth album, Scarecrow. To get things started, this track was issued out as the first single. It immediately shot up to #1 at Rock and stayed there for five weeks. It also was a hit at Pop and it became Mellencamp's fifth Top 10. The album would just miss out on the top spot peaking at #2. Eventually it would sell over five million copies tying the amount that his breakthrough 1982 hit album American Fool sold.

ReduxReview:  Although I loved "Jack & Diane," I wasn't a real fan of Mellecamp's music and the tracks from Uh-Huh didn't change my mind. So when it was announced Scarecrow was coming out, I didn't really care. That was until I heard this first single. I can't pinpoint why, but I immediately connected with this tune. Then when I saw the stark album cover with Mellencamp hanging out by an old farm fence looking down and contemplating, I knew I had to have it. The LP was the first time I actually "got" Mellencamp's music. From that point on, I was a diehard fan and he has remained near the top of the list of my favorite artists. That is all thanks to this hit that I quickly got to know via the radio while driving around Boston delivering singing telegrams (yeah, you read that right...).

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Mellencamp was adamant about getting a certain 60s rock sound for the songs on the album and he thought the only way that he and his band could accomplish that was to actually learn and play songs from that era. So Mellencamp gathered up about a hundred 45s from the time period and got his band to learn and replicate the songs as close to the originals as they could. The band did this for about a month prior to recording the album. The experimental lesson paid off when the band was quickly able to adopt the sounds and techniques they learned into Mellencamp's songs.  2) The song's title and another small line in the lyrics were inspired by the 1963 movie Hud, which starred Paul Newman. Mellencamp was a big fan of the film and a certain piece of dialog from the script stuck with him. In the movie, Hud (Paul Newman) and his nephew Lonnie (Brandon deWilde) are heading into town one evening when Lonnie says: "It's a lonesome ol' night, isn't it?" Hud then replied, "Ain't they all." Those lines got reflected in Mellencamp's song. Hud would go on to win three Academy Awards including Best Actress for Patricia Neal. Neal is actually on screen for only around 20 minutes of the film's 112 minute running time, yet her powerful and memorable performance was enough to get her pushed to the lead actress category instead of supporting. She still holds the record for the shortest screen time by an Oscar winner in a lead category.


No comments:

Post a Comment