Jack and Diane-John Cougar

November 19, 2021

Today’s song of the day is the biggest hit for singer/songwriter John Mellencamp, “Jack and Diane.”

Fun Facts

  • At the time of the recording, Mellencamp was pressured by the record label to use the name John “Cougar” Mellencamp. That name was actually his second stage name, following Johnny Cougar.
  • “Jack and Diane” spent four weeks at number one on the Billboard charts in 1982.
  • Although “Jack and Diane” was his biggest hit, it was not his first. “I Need A Lover” was a hit for him in 1978 in Australia.
  • The song comes from his album American Fool, which also contained the hit singles “Hand to Hold Onto” and “Hurts So Good.”
  • Mellencamp claims to have worked extremely hard on this song with the goal of it becoming a hit single.
  • The success of this single allowed Mellencamp to have more creative control of his work in the future.
  • Mellencamp received help from Mick Ronson (guitarist from Mott the Hoople, David Bowie, and Ian Hunter) arranging the song.
  • The song uses a drum machine for everything except the iconic drum solo in the middle of the song. The drums were played by Mellencamp’s drummer, Kenny Aronoff.
  • The video for the song uses actual photographs from Mellencamp’s youth.
  • The song was originally written to be about an interracial couple, but the record company pressured Mellencamp to change it in order to appeal to a wider audience.
  • The song helped identify Mellencamp as a Midwestern hero. He further embedded this trait with songs such as “Rain on the Scarecrow” and “Smalltown.”

Lyrics:

(LyricFind)

A little ditty ’bout Jack & Diane

Two American kids growing up in the heartland

Jack, he’s gonna be a football star

Diane’s debutante, backseat of Jacky’s car

Suckin’ on chili dog outside the Tastee Freez

Diane sitting on Jacky’s lap

Got his hands between her knees

Jack he says

“Hey, Diane, let’s run off behind a shady tree

Dribble off those Bobby Brooks

Let me do what I please”

Saying “Oh yeah

Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone”

Saying “Oh yeah

Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone”

They walk on

Jack he sits back, collects his thoughts for a moment

Scratches his head, and does his best James Dean

“Well then, there, Diane, we ought to run off to the city”

Diane says

“Baby, you ain’t missing nothing”

But Jack he says, yeah

“Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone”

“Oh yeah”

He’s saying “Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone”

Oh, let it rock, let it roll

Let the bible belt come and save my soul

Holdin’ on to sixteen as long as you can

Change is coming ’round real soon

Make us women and men

“Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone”

“Oh yeah”

He’s saying “Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone”

A little ditty ’bout Jack and Diane

Two American kids doin’ the best they can

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