Archive for Farm Aid

Great Rock Albums of 1985: John Cougar Mellencamp- Scarecrow

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2018 by 80smetalman

With both heavy metal and synth pop polarizing a lot of musical tastes in 1985, many people claimed that they just wanted to hear some straight forward, old time rock and roll. For a lot of these people, the “Scarecrow” album from John Cougar Mellencamp gave them just that. I can’t really disagree with that thought. While I was firmly seated in the heavy metal camp back then, I still appreciated the no frills rock the album provided. It’s probably why the album made it to number two on the album charts.

For the singles enthusiasts, “Scarecrow” netted five of them, all of which got inside the top thirty. This provides further evidence that many Americans wanted this type of straight forward rock. Because that is basically what the album is full of, eleven good no frills rock tunes. Okay, maybe the second track doesn’t qualify as such but the other ten for sure. The singles “Small Town,” “Lonely Ol’ Night” and “R.O.CK. in the USA” are still remembered and enjoyed today. All three are good steady rock tunes. Less remembered however, is my personal favourite, “Rain on the Scarecrow.” This dark song highlights the tragedy of American farmers at the time as many of them were going bankrupt and having their farms repossessed by the banks. I’m tempted to go into a political rant here but I’ll desist. What “Rain on the Scarecrow” did do for me was make me take John seriously as a song writer.

Not being one to judge an album by its singles, I can safely say that the rest of the album holds up well. Even though “Justice and Independence 85” and “Minutes to Memories” were never released as singles, they still made it onto the Hot Tracks Chart and I can see why. Furthermore, John’s more topical songwriting features in the former of the two and continues with “Face of a Nation” where he sings about the poverty and homelessness that was happening in the mid 1980s at the time. What I conclude here is that John Cougar Mellencamp’s more developed songwriting combined with straight forward rock, which a lot of Americans were craving for at the time, combined to make “Scarecrow” probably his best album at the time.

Track Listing:

  1. Rain on the Scarecrow
  2. Grandma’s Theme (In the Baggage Coach Ahead)
  3. Small Town
  4. Minutes to Memories
  5. Lonely Ol’¬† Night
  6. The Face of the Nation
  7. Justice and Independence ’85
  8. Between and Laugh and a Tear
  9. Rumbleseat
  10. You Gotta Stand for Somethin’
  11. R.O.C.K. in the USA

John Cougar Mellencamp

John Mellencamp- guitar, lead vocals, harmonica on Small Town

Larry Crane- guitars, backing vocals

Kenny Aranoff- drums, percussion, tambourine, backing vocals

Mike Wanchic- electric guitar, backing vocals

Toby Myers- bass, backing vocals

John Cascella- keyboards

Rickie Lee Jones- vocals on “Between a Laugh and a Tear”

Sarah Flint- backing vocals on “R.O.CK. in the USA”

Laura Mellemcamp (John’s Grandmother)- lead vocal on “Grandma’s Theme”

Mimi Mapes- backing vocals on “Minutes to Midnight”

A. Jack Wilkins- saxophone on “Justice and Independence 85”

Richard Fanning- trumpet on “Justice and Independence 85”

In a 1985 that seemed to be polarizing musically, it was a relief to many that there could be straight forward rock around at the time. Not only would John Cougar Mellencamp release a top album, he would go on to arrange a benefit concert to help America’s bankrupt farmers but that’s a story for another time.

Next post: My Christmas Top Ten Revisited

To download Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://c-newfreepdf.cf/olddocs/free-download-online-rock-and-roll-children-pdf-1609763556-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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