April 12, 1982 — John Cougar: American Fool is released. John is from Seymour and his band played at one of my junior-year high school dances (John was a HS senior at the time.)
American Fool was the fifth album released by John Mellencamp under the stage name John Cougar. It reached #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and featured three Billboard Hot 100 charting tracks: "Jack & Diane" (#1), "Hurts So Good" (#2) and "Hand to Hold On To" (#19).
While American Fool wasn't John's first LP, it was the album that gained commercial and artistic attention, and established the formula that would become his trademark style—simple roots-rock melodies with stirring choruses, unguardedly emotional vocals, and lyrics that reflect the experiences of the common man.
Album opener "Hurts So Good" is a playful rocker (with a dangerously catchy refrain) that has become part of the pop canon, and "Jack & Diane" is one of the great slice-of-life songs of the '80s. While both songs loom large, other overlooked treasures include "China Girl," with its cheeky faux-Chinese guitar riff, and the ballad "Weakest Moments," which blends transcendent acoustic-guitar changes with a gorgeous, careworn melody. Here and elsewhere on this well-written record, John proves he's nobody's fool.
Producer Don Gehman stated in a 2011 interview that American Fool “was fraught with layers of problems. We had 20 or so songs, we had a record company that was hoping we were making a Neil Diamond‑type album, and after we spent two or three months in the studio recording these songs and mixing them to the best of our ability, I can remember an A&R guy in a pink shirt coming in to listen to them and basically thinking we had nothing. At that point, they put a stop to the project. We had ‘Jack & Diane,’ we had ‘Hand To Hold On To,’ we had ‘Weakest Moments’—we had some good songs—and while I don’t know the precise nature of the discussions that took place, Riva went from wanting to get a new producer to not even wanting John on the label anymore. Finally, they came around to letting us finish it but wanting to hear the new songs we were going to cut.”
Tracks: (All songs written by John Mellencamp, except where noted.)
I wore out two cassette tapes listening to this album when I commuted to and from work (among others). John lives here in Bloomington and the last time I saw him he was sitting on a bale of hay in front of Krogers while his wife got groceries. As I walked by he looked up, smiled big and said "hey." I smiled back and said "stay cool, John." He didn't remember we had met when he was making a music video in the IU Auditorium years before (or way back in high school).
Last edited by Mic Miller on Mon 12 Apr 2021 - 13:54; edited 1 time in total
I love listening to 2Cellos at Christmas time, Their rendition of Hallelujah is quite beautiful. I also like Lindsey Stirling's version. We have quite the diverse list of music we listen to at any given time. We listen to Lindsey Stirling or Loreena Mckennit sometimes at night, We call it our Shut Down Music.
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Perhaps the best light show I ever saw at a music concert was when Fleetwood Mac played at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado. It was general admission and I got there late. Hence, I had to sit high up in the bend of the U-shaped football stadium with the Kool-Aid gang. I faced north and could see over the stage area looking up along the foothills towards Fort Collins. There was a monster thunderhead over Fort Collins and I thought how spectacular its lightning activity was. Golden Earring was the opening act and I enjoyed watching the distant storm to "Radar Love" and their other songs. Then I noticed the storm was coming south along the front range towards us—fast! I thought "Brother! We're going to get dumped on!" And me being 6'-8" atop a stadium started feeling like a lightning arrester. "Come on, Fleetwood, before the storm hits!" Others around me were starting to size up the situation and talked about leaving. Money was scarce in those student days so I wasn't going anywhere. I wanted my monies' worth. As the storm cell got closer to the northern city limits Golden Earring seemed more like an obstacle to getting Fleetwood Mac on stage. Finally their set ended and, thankfully, Stevie and the group quickly came on stage. By now the thunderhead and lightning were a mile behind the stage. There must have been a Zeus convention in it judging from all the lightning. Stevie comes up to her microphone in her top-hatted, black outfit and, yes, sings the only song that fits this moment. The Kool-Aid gang freaked and I will never forget this light show. Maybe it was me, but the lightning seemed to be choreographed to "Rhiannon." (In '70s Boulder things like this happened all the time.)
Last edited by Mic Miller on Mon 12 Apr 2021 - 19:12; edited 1 time in total
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