It wasn’t until I was a freshman in High School that I went to my second real rock concert. And it was my first without parental supervision. Well, they did drive me there since I was still pre-driver’s license, but they dropped us off – so it still counts, right?
So my second rock concert was John Cougar Mellencamp’s Scarecrow Tour. Post “Johnny Cougar” – Pre “John Mellencamp” – At this point he was using all three names.
I have had a hot/cold, on-again/off-again relationship with JCM’s music throughout my life. There have been times that I have loved it and other times that I was “over” it. But that is kind of how I feel about him as an artist. He has always teetered on the line between being a really good singer/songwriter and being an over-blown caricature of himself.
Typically, if I really like an artist, I like their body of work. I want whole albums and not just greatest hits compilations. But with JCM, even with those, I tend to only really enjoy a little over half of the songs.
But, even after saying that, I like JCM. He has some great music in his catalog. I was a big fan when a lot of my peers were listening to the spandex-clad, hair & glam rock – a genre of music that I never really got into. I think that the kind of music I was listening to back then (JCM, Springsteen, Tom Petty, etc.) was the beginning of my love for Americana and alt.Country. And I will always respect him for what he has been able to accomplish with the Farm Aid benefit concert & organization, along with Willie Nelson & Neil Young.
And I’m glad I got to see him live.
Here are some of his better tunes (in my opinion)…