By the time John Mellencamp released October 1991’s “Whenever We Wanted” , containing the hits “Get a Leg Up” and “Again Tonight”, his record-making not only made him one of the Eighties’ most popular singer/ songwriters, he had already influenced the sound of his peers…twice.
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Before arenas and stadiums, even the most popular bands in history started in someone’s garage, carport, or basement. Some of today’s biggest Hall of Famers, such as John Mellencamp and his excellent band, still rehearse there, as I found out one snowy Christmas season in 1991. “Get a Leg Up” comes straight off the garage floor, no overdubs.
John Mellencamp and his wonderfully talented band left his garage in Central Indiana back in early May 1989 and headed north by northwest to legendary Chicago Chess Studio and cut this live version of the Willie Dixon song made famous by Johnny Rivers , “Seventh Son“, straight off the studio floor, no overdubs. –Redbeard
John Mellencamp’s “Scarecrow” album released in August 1985 was loaded with hits, including “Small Town”,”Lonely Ol’ Night”, and “R.O.C.K. in the USA”. His list of Top 20 hit songs is extensive enough to require the double-disc “Words and Music” compilation, but it was the album tracks starting with Scarecrow’s “Minutes to Memories”, worthy of inclusion in the great Paul Simon songbook, which revealed his songcraft to me.
This acoustic performance of “Rain on the Scarecrow” was absolutely live on my Q102 Dallas/ Ft Worth afternoon radio show in October 1991 with Mike Wanchic on guitar and Kenny Aronoff playing alongside John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp interview “In the Studio” with Redbeard about 1989’s “Big Daddy”.
Here is John Mellencamp‘s live acoustic performance of “Pink Houses” on my Dallas/ Ft.Worth Q102 radio show 10-1-91 with Mike Wanchic on acoustic guitar & harmonies and the great Kenny Aronoff on tambourine. It came out so good that John Mellencamp‘s record label asked to release it as a CD single in Europe in 1992. […]
” I think Uh Huh is me finally figuring out what it is that I do,” John Mellencamp sums up his first fully realized album here In the Studio. “Took me a long time, didn’t it? Like, five albums or something,” he chuckles.
Just a few days prior to Christmas 1991 , John Mellencamp was rehearsing his band in his garage, literally, in the snow-covered hills of Central Indiana, in preparation for their upcoming 1992 tour . I was invited to interview him and record the band in rehearsal , thus this performance of “Jack and Diane” is absolutely live , no overdubs . In memory of accordion/keyboard player John Cascella .-Redbeard
When John Mellencamp performed a live acoustic version of “Small Town” on my Q102 Dallas radio show in October 1991, he had already become ambivalent about the effect that the 1985 ginormous hit was having on his career long-term. Mellencamp told me that day that he felt that too many people who discovered him through […]