John Cougar Mellencamp.
No matter the name, the voice has remained the same.
Since the release of his debut album “Chestnut Street Incident” in 1976, Mellencamp has been the voice of the heartland.
He’s released 24 studio albums, dozens of singles, three compilation albums and two live albums.
His career has netted one Grammy win and 12 nominations, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.
Mellencamp’s trophy case also holds awards including the 2010 Americana Lifetime Achievement Award, the Founders Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and the Classic Songwriter Award from the 2008 Q Awards.
Mellencamp, who played the Greyhound Park and Event Center in Post Falls with Bob Dylan in 2010, will headline the First Interstate Center for the Arts on Saturday.
After browsing recent setlists, here’s a look at what you can probably expect to hear when Mellencamp takes the stage as part of his “The John Mellencamp Show” tour.
“Jack & Diane” - Mellencamp has likely not performed a concert without performing this song since its release in 1982. Mellencamp’s most successful single, from “American Fool,” “Jack & Diane” was named a Song of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America.
“Stones in My Passway” - For the most part, Mellencamp seems to be putting his most recent release, a covers album called “Other People’s Stuff,” aside for older material, save for this Robert Johnson cover.
“Most, if not all, of the songs on ‘Other People’s Stuff’ come from the Great American Songbook,” Mellencamp said in a statement. “These are songs that have been recorded over the last 40 years of my career, but had never been put together as one piece of work. Now, they have.”
“Crumblin’ Down” - Written by Mellencamp and “Hurts So Good” co-writer George Green, “Crumblin’ Down” was the lead single from 1983’s “Uh-Huh.” The song touches on the idea of what happens after success fades, but Mellencamp had nothing to worry about with this tune; it peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Top 40 chart and No. 2 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
“Pink Houses” - According to an interview Mellencamp did with Rolling Stone, “Pink Houses” was inspired by (no surprise) a pink house he saw in Bloomington, Indiana. The song, from “Uh-Huh,” was played during events for the presidential campaigns of John Edwards and John McCain and was also featured in an episode of “Glee.”
“Lonely Ol’ Night” - According to the Mellencamp biography “Born in a Small Town” by Heather Johnson, the title of this song, from 1985’s “Scarecrow,” was inspired by a scene from the Paul Newman film “Hud,” itself based on a book by Larry McMurty.
The way it portrayed the strained relationship between Newman’s character and his father, in particular, inspired many of Mellencamp’s songs.
“Small Town” - Mellencamp uses “Small Town,” another tune from “Scarecrow,” to sing the praises of his birthplace, Seymour, Indiana.
“Well I was born in a small town/And I live in a small town/Probably die in a small town/Oh, those small communities,” he sings.
“Cherry Bomb” - Off 1987’s “The Lonesome Jubilee,” “Cherry Bomb” finds Mellencamp reminiscing about his time spent at the Last Exit Teen Club when he was a teenager.
“The whole world seemed to exist there,” he said in 1989 during a BBC interview. “Everything that was important happened down in the basement of this church, is what it was.”
Other possibilities: “Troubled Land,” “Minutes to Memories,” “Rain on the Scarecrow” and “Authority Song/Land of 1000 Dances,” a mash-up of Mellencamp’s 1984 single and the Chris Kenner tune, which was made famous by Wilson Pickett.
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