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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.
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Now that Randy Newman has been inducted, here's my nomination for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the most deserving American songwriter working today: John Hiatt. Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton and B.B.King, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Cocker,…