Thursday, July 21, 2022

"Pop Singer" by John Cougar Mellencamp

Song#:  3882
Date:  04/29/1989
Debut:  54
Peak:  15
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Folk-Rock, Americana

Pop Bits:  Mellencamp's 1987 album The Lonesome Jubilee was a #6 triple-platinum seller that added two more Pop Top 10 hits to his credits including the #8 "Cherry Bomb" (#1 Rock/#12 AC). Hoping to secure another Top 10, Mellencamp released this first single from his tenth album Big Daddy. The song would do well at Rock getting to #2, but after a fairly high debut on the Pop chart, the song stopped short of the Top 10. It was the first time since 1980 that a lead single from a Mellencamp album failed to crack the Top 10. Despite that, the album still sold well reaching #7 and going platinum.

ReduxReviewBig Daddy wrapped up a few things for Mellencamp. It was his last studio LP of the 80s, it was the last to have "Cougar" appear in his name credit, and it was the third and last in a sort of trilogy of albums where Mellencamp had a more Americana approach in his songs and using instruments like fiddle and accordion. He'd return to a harder edged rock 'n' roll sound with 1991's Whenever We Wanted To. I really liked this song when it came out. I thought it was hooky and memorable and I liked how Mellencamp was addressing what he had been going through in the music business, especially in the early days when his career was basically being directed by others. However, I wasn't sure it was going to be a hit single. It wasn't as relatable as some of his other hits and it wasn't quite sitting well next to the new jack swing and glam rock of the day. But I think Mellencamp had enough fans show up that helped to get this song up the chart. Big Daddy was another winner for me from Mellencamp. It may not have been as immediately likeable as his previous LPs (in general it was a rather dark collection), but on repeated listens the songs shine. While I wouldn't perhaps consider it underrated in his catalog, I do think it didn't quite get its due back in the day or even now.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The cover of Big Daddy featureed a photo of Mellencamp hugging/holding a young girl. That girl was Mellencamp's daughter Teddi Jo. Her mother was Mellencamp's second wife Victoria Granucci. The couple had one other daughter named Justice. Apparently, Justice was originally to be on the cover. She was three at the time and on the day of the shoot she was fussy and crying and not wanting to participate. Teddi, who was seven, then stepped in and got the job done. It was during the writing and recording of the album that Mellencamp was going through the split/divorce with Granucci. In 2011, Teddi would marry securities CEO Edwin Arroyave. They would have three kids. In 2017, Teddi would join the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She would be on the show for three seasons. She also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2022. She would be the first person evicted from the house.


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