I saw Ty about 10 or 11 years ago at one of the Country Thursday free lunchtime concerts they used to hold at the WTC. Great singer — sounds better live than on cd. The 90s were my introduction to country music so this countdown is bringing a lot of that back. I cannot wait to see what other songs make the list.
I could never do this kind of countdown myself; it would be way too hard. That Pure Country soundtrack is really good. Strait had that huge run of number one songs from 86 thru Country radio was getting ready to leave him behind but then he releases that album and that song which became a wedding anthem and was dripping with the one thing so many country singers especially now lack- sincerity. That came through and it had the newer generation of country fans seeking out his back catalog and put him squarely on the same pedestal as the younger stars of the time.
Not to mention it was the first album where he hooked up with Tony Brown who has been his producer since then. Hey Brian…George has said in the past that PC put him on a higher level than ever before. Anyway, once the music from PC and the movie itself was released, it was an instant hit, and King George has never looked back.
That included ALL genres of music!! Love being reminded of so many of these songs. Thanks for all of the hard work you guys have put into this countdown. Sigh… the mostly good ole days of country radio. Really enjoying this list. It was a sign of things to come, in a way, as the mood and spirit of the song hinted at the path that Mellencamp would travel on his next full-length effort.
Mellencamp's opinion that America is whatever you make it to be never rang more true than in this song. The track would ultimately spend a total of 16 weeks in the Billboard Top 10 Singles. Was it really any surprise that this song would end up in the No. A love song for the young in which he encourages people to " hold onto 16 as long as you can ," chances are good that many teens were taken by this song in , feeling as though Mellencamp just might have a good idea of what he's talking about.
For an artist with such a wide breadth of material, narrowing down John Mellencamp's catalogue to 10 songs is no easy task. What songs did we miss? What is your favorite Mellencamp tune? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. Top 10 John Mellencamp Songs. Mellencamp was heavily involved in painting at this time in his life and decided not to tour behind Big Daddy , stating: This other step that people keep wanting me to take to become another level of recording artist — to be Madonna?
To kiss somebody's ass? I ain't gonna do it. Mellencamp's album, Whenever We Wanted , was the first with a cover billed to John Mellencamp; the Cougar was dropped. In , he released Human Wheels , and the title track peaked at No. We explored what a lot of these current bands are doing — these young black bands that are doing more than just sampling. The album also contained two protest songs in "L. Others have just one guitar, bass, and drums, which I haven't done since American Fool.
With guitarist Andy York now on board as Larry Crane's full-time replacement, Mellencamp launched his Dance Naked Tour in the summer of , but suffered a minor heart attack after a show at Jones Beach in New York on August 8 of that year that eventually forced him to cancel the last few weeks of the tour. It was just a terrible lifestyle. He returned to the concert stage in early by playing a series of dates in small Midwestern clubs under the pseudonym Pearl Doggy.
In September , the experimental album Mr. Happy Go Lucky , which was produced by Junior Vasquez , was released to critical acclaim. The arrangements are more ambitious, with programs and loops going right along with real drums and guitars. Happy Go Lucky spawned the No. After the release of Mr. Happy Go Lucky and a subsequent four-month tour from March—July to promote it, Mellencamp signed a four-album deal with Columbia Records , although he wound up making only three albums for the label.
Donovan made a record in , Sunshine Superman , and I wanted to start with that same kind of vibe—Eastern, very grand stories, fairy tales. In , Mellencamp covered his own songs as well as those by Bob Dylan and the Drifters for his album Rough Harvest recorded in , one of two albums he owed Mercury Records to fulfill his contract the other was The Best That I Could Do , a best-of collection. In May , he gave the Indiana University commencement address, in which he advised graduates to "play it like you feel it!
In August , Mellencamp played a series of unannounced free concerts in major cities on the East Coast and in the Midwest as a way of giving back to fans who had supported him the previous 24 years. With a lo-fi setup that included portable amps and a battery-powered P.
The Good Samaritan Tour. Isn't that where music started? To anybody who's said thank you to me, I say, 'You're very nice, but, really, thank you. The early 21st century also found Mellencamp teaming up with artists such as Chuck D and India. Mellencamp embarked on the Cuttin' Heads Tour in the summer of , before the album was even released.
He opened each show on this tour with a cover of the Rolling Stones ' " Gimme Shelter " and also played a solo acoustic version of the Cuttin' Heads track "Women Seem" at each show. The album was also dedicated to Mellencamp's friend, Billboard magazine editor-in-chief Timothy White , who died from a heart attack in Columbia Records executives, who were in attendance at the benefit shows, were so impressed with Mellencamp's live renditions of "Stones in My Passway" that they convinced him to record an album of vintage American songs, which ultimately became Trouble No More.
Trouble No More spent several weeks at No. Mellencamp participated in the Vote for Change tour in October leading up to the U. John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits , which contained 35 of his radio singles including all 22 of his Top 40 hits along with two new tunes, " Walk Tall " and "Thank You" — both produced by Babyface but written by Mellencamp. In , Mellencamp toured with Donovan and John Fogerty. The first leg of what was called the Words and Music Tour in the spring of featured Donovan playing in the middle of Mellencamp's set.
Mellencamp would play a handful of songs before introducing Donovan and then duetting with him on the hit "Sunshine Superman". Mellencamp would leave the stage as Donovan played seven or eight of his songs backed by Mellencamp's band and then return to finish off his own set after Donovan departed. On the second leg of the tour in the summer of , Fogerty co-headlined with Mellencamp at outdoor amphitheaters across the United States.
Mellencamp released Freedom's Road , his first album of original material in over five years, on January 23, He intended for Freedom's Road to have a s rock sound while still remaining contemporary, and he feels that goal was achieved. I think we came up with a pretty timeless sounding album", Mellencamp told his online radio station in late Although Mellencamp had always been outspoken and adamant about not selling any of his songs to corporations to use in commercials, he changed his stance and let Chevrolet use "Our Country" in Chevy Silverado TV commercials that began airing in late September I'm taking heat because no one's ever done this before.
People have licensed songs that have already been hits, but nobody's licensed a brand-new song to a major company, and people don't know how to react. On August 13, , Mellencamp began recording his 18th album of original material, titled Life, Death, Love and Freedom. The album, which was released on July 15, , was produced by T Bone Burnett. The first song with video, "Jena", was introduced on Mellencamp's website in October A video for the song was filmed in Savannah, Georgia on June 9, Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town is featured in the video.
She harmonizes with Mellencamp on "My Sweet Love" and provides background vocals to three other songs on Life, Death, Love and Freedom , which became the ninth Top 10 album of Mellencamp's career when it debuted at No. On September 3, , Mellencamp made available on his website a home-video recording of his solo acoustic cover of Bob Dylan's " The Times They Are A-Changin' " as a sign that the Presidential Election was going to bring about change in America.
The show features performers returning to small venues where they performed during the early stages of their careers. Mellencamp had last played at the Crump Theatre on October 4, The program aired on December 11, and also featured an in-depth documentary tracing Mellencamp's roots.
Crow joined Mellencamp on stage to duet on "My Sweet Love" during the last seven shows. Mellencamp participated in a tribute concert for Pete Seeger 's 90th birthday on May 3, at Madison Square Garden in New York City which raised funds for an environmental organization founded by Seeger to preserve and protect the Hudson River. In the summer of , Mellencamp embarked on a tour of minor league ballparks with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson that ran from July 2 — August Mellencamp recorded the album using a Ampex portable recording machine and only one microphone, requiring all the musicians to gather together around the mic.
The album was recorded in mono. Mellencamp wrote over 30 songs for the record only 13 made the final cut , and he wrote one song specifically for Room at the Gunter Hotel Mellencamp told the San Antonio Express-News:. Live at the Royal , which peaked at No. On December 6, , Mellencamp performed " Born in the U. A career-spanning box set of album tracks and demos titled On the Rural Route was released on June 15, , nine weeks before No Better Than This hit stores.
Mellencamp, who co-headlined 11 shows in the summer of with Bob Dylan , launched the No Better Than This theater tour on October 29, in his hometown of Bloomington, Indiana.
On this tour, which ran through the summer of and covered the entire United States and Canada and much of Europe, Mellencamp opened each concert with a showing of a Kurt Markus documentary about the making of No Better Than This called "It's About You" before hitting the stage to play three different sets: Mellencamp played for over two hours and included 24 songs in his setlist on the tour.
One reviewer called the opening gig of the European leg of the tour "maybe the best rock-performance ever in Denmark. The tour finally concluded with a tour of Canada in the summer of Mellencamp took part in two Woody Guthrie tribute concerts in as part of a year-long celebration surrounding the year anniversary of the folk icon's birth.
The album captures his live performance at Town Hall in New York City on July 31, , in which he performed every track from his Trouble No More covers album in addition to a rendition of "Highway 61 Revisited" by Bob Dylan and reworked versions of three of his own songs. In October , Mellencamp revealed that he was working on a new album, and he offered this update on the project to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: I'm not part of the music business.
I want to write my songs, do some little shows. T Bone Burnett is going to come out to Indiana sometime in early January and we're gonna go into the studio for however long it takes to make a new album.
I haven't done one in five years. In January , Mellencamp began recording the project, which would ultimately be titled Plain Spoken and would become his 20th album of original material and 22nd studio album overall. The album was released on September 23, In the summer of , Mellencamp conducted a brief show tour.
During these concerts, which primarily took place at casinos and festivals across the United States and Canada, he gave the first taste of Plain Spoken by playing "Troubled Man," the album's first track and first single.
Outside of the Plain Spoken Tour, Mellencamp's most noteworthy live performance in came on February 6, when he paid tribute to Bob Dylan at the annual MusiCares Person of the Year event by performing piano-and-vocal rendition of "Highway 61 Revisited" the piano was played by Troye Kinnett from Mellencamp's band.
Never has Mellencamp sounded so artful. After a star-studded lineup paid tribute to Dylan with cover versions of some of his greatest songs, Dylan closed the evening with a minute speech that included a reference to Mellencamp's song "Longest Days". In December , Mellencamp began recording a duets album with Carlene Carter , who was his opening act for all shows on the Plain Spoken Tour and would join Mellencamp for two songs during his set.
John got the idea to do an album together. I was blown away. I think we're onto something really interesting, but I won't give the surprise away. It's different, because I've never really sat down and tried to write duets. That's going to be a fun challenge. While it is considered a duets project, Carter gave Pacific University the first piece of insight that the album wouldn't consist strictly of duets. Some are duets and some are by themselves—it's different, but really kind of the way John and I roll.
We are very like-minded and on musical ground that really feels right. It's been quite a wonderful ride. I know this sounds crazy, but it happens a lot, I think, to songwriters—you can't tell it by looking, but I was working out—and all of a sudden I just started singing 'easy targets' and I thought, 'oh no, now I've got to stop what I'm doing" and it took me The melody came [intact], the lyrics It started out like 'Look, lets go back and do an old country religious record.
We'll try to write songs that sound like those songs, but they'll be new. The leg of the tour concluded on September 3 in Canfield, Ohio. Carter will not accompany Mellencamp on the Canadian portion of the tour. From The Chicago Theatre , was released on May 11, Country music star Keith Urban has consistently cited Mellencamp's influence on his music.
It originated when Mellencamp's Lonesome Jubilee tour went to Australia in —Urban was in attendance at one of the concerts and described the experience as an "epiphany.
Urban told the Vancouver Sun in I just remember that moment: Here's that full-on rock section, with Kenny Aronoff on drums and Larry Crane a rock guitarist with swagger. But there was also Lisa Germano on fiddle, they had an accordion player, there was an acoustic guitarist. I was hit by lightning by that concert. I said to John, 'I didn't walk away thinking: I want to do that.
I walked away feeling: I get it — just put all the things you love into what you do. Urban went into more detail on the impact Mellencamp's Lonesome Jubilee Tour concert had on him when CMT asked him about the concert that most influenced him:. In , Urban and Mellencamp performed "Pink Houses" together twice during nationally televised events. Mellencamp's musical style has generally been described as rock ,   heartland rock ,  roots rock   and folk rock.
Noted art writer Hilarie M. Sheets, a contributing editor to ARTnews who writes regularly for The New York Times , called Mellencamp "a natural storyteller" in a essay she wrote about his artwork. Known over the course of his successful four-decade music career for his acutely observed songs about the American landscape and its cast of characters, Mellencamp has been equally productive as a painter mining similar terrain.
Mellencamp's interest in painting began in early life, but was superseded in the s by his skyrocketing musical career. However, throughout his life, Mellencamp has continued to seriously explore painting. Mellencamp came to New York in the mids with the intention of studying painting if his music-career aspirations didn't pan out.
In , he joined the Art Students League and had his first formal training with portrait painter David Leffel, who taught him the technique of painting dark to light in the manner of Rembrandt and other old masters.
His discovery of early 20th-century modernists including Chaim Soutine, Walt Kuhn, and particularly the German Expressionists Otto Dix and Max Beckmann pointed the way toward a visceral, pared down approach to portraiture. His portraiture evolved to a personal style that some critics describe as similar to the dark and shadowy paintings of the German Expressionists. They involve expressiveness by means of exaggeration and distortion of line and color, in favor of a simplified style intended to carry an emotional impact.
According to Mellencamp, "German painting remains the basic foundation for what I do same as folk music is the foundation of my songs. Mellencamp's paintings from the s—of family and friends and many of himself—show lone figures isolated frontally against simple, shadowy backgrounds.
They stare at the viewer or off into space with eyes both tough and vulnerable, projecting intensity akin to Beckmann's self-portraits with his sad, glowering eyes. They depict existential scenes and human beings ridden with the angst of the everyday.
There are no smiles on the faces of Mellencamp's painted figures. His sad clowns, ex-girlfriends, creative heroes, imagined outliers, and hillbilly singers are often endowed with oversize hands and facial features and always with deadpan, proud stares.