Mr. Happy Go Lucky

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Mr. Happy Go Lucky
Studio album by John Mellencamp
Released September 10, 1996
Recorded January 1995 – June 1996
Genre Rock
Length 45:43
Label Mercury
Producer Little Bastard, Mike Wanchic
and Junior Vasquez
John Mellencamp chronology
Dance Naked
Mr. Happy Go Lucky
The Best That I Could Do 1978-1988
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly B−[2]
No Depression (?)[3]
Q 3/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[5]

Mr. Happy Go Lucky is a rock album released by American singer-songwriter and musician John Mellencamp on September 10, 1996. It was his first album released after his heart attack in 1994. Mellencamp's music on the album is said to reflect his brush with death. This album was recorded in Belmont, Indiana, in Mellencamp's Belmont Mall recording studio. The first single from the album, "Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)," peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is his last Top 40 single in the United States to date. "Just Another Day" was the album's second single and stalled at #46 on the Billboard Hot 100.

AllMusic gave the album a mixed review, claiming: "John Mellencamp responded to his massive heart attack and close-call with death with 'Mr. Happy Go Lucky,' the most overtly ambitious album in his career." Entertainment Weekly also gave a mixed review, proclaiming: "Mr. Happy Go Lucky is, disappointingly, not the groundbreaker it promised to be."

However, the album also garnered numerous positive reviews, including a four-star review from Rolling Stone, which stated: "There's nothing here with the bull's-eye appeal of 1982's 'Hurts So Good,' no adolescent anthems like Mellencamp's No. 1 single 'Jack and Diane.' Now in his mid-40s, Mellencamp has turned his back on calculated Top 40 gestures in favor of mature theatrics and a thick sonic gumbo. A little uneven but unrepentant, 'Mr. Happy Go Lucky' is a mixed bag in the best sense: rife with ghosts, a healthy fear and a cocky embrace of middle age."

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by John Mellencamp, except where noted.

  1. "Overture" (Mellencamp; arranged Miriam Sturm) – 1:56
  2. "Jerry" – 4:24
  3. "Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)" (Mellencamp, George M. Green) – 4:54
  4. "Just Another Day" – 3:28
  5. "This May Not Be The End Of The World" (Mellencamp, Green) – 5:29
  6. "Emotional Love" (Toby Myers) – 3:20
  7. "Mr. Bellows" – 4:26
  8. "The Full Catastrophe" – 3:11
  9. "Circling Around The Moon" (Mellencamp, Green) – 5:48
  10. "Large World Turning" – 3:55
  11. "Jackamo Road" – 1:37
  12. "Life Is Hard" – 3:15
  13. "What If I Came Knocking?" (2005 re-issue bonus track) - 5:26

Cover art controversy[edit]

After being released into stores nationwide, retail giant Wal-Mart found the depiction of the Devil and Jesus on the cover to be offensive, additionally stating that it looked as if the baby in the photo was dead. Mellencamp responded the baby was his son, Hud, who was only sleeping; however, he was not upset at the cover being changed since he did not design or decide on it, and since the music was not required to be changed. In newer versions of the cover art the Devil and Jesus have been removed.


  • John Mellencamp - vocals, guitar
  • Mike Wanchic - guitars, dobro, background vocals, mellotron, organ, mandolin
  • Andy York - guitars, background vocals, chamberlain, organ, harmonica, mandolin, mellotron, percussion
  • Toby Myers - bass, background vocals, keyboards, percussion
  • Kenny Aronoff - drums, percussion, loops, vibes
  • Moe Z M.D. - loops, organ, backing vocals
  • Raphael Saadiq - bass, backing vocals
  • Miriam Sturm - violin
  • Milton Davis - bass
  • Jimmy Ryser - violin, backing vocals
  • Lonnie Pitchford - slide guitar
  • Pat Peterson - backing vocals
  • Jeff Pedersen - organ
  • Harvey Phillips - tuba
  • Tim Riggins - trombone
  • Dennis Riggins - saxophone


Album - Billboard (America)[6]

Year Chart Position
September 28, 1996 The Billboard 200 9

Singles - Billboard (America)[7]

Year Single Chart Position
1996 "Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)" The Billboard Hot 100 14
1996 "Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)" Mainstream Rock Tracks 10
1996 "Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)" Adult Contemporary 15
1997 "Just Another Day" The Billboard Hot 100 46
1997 "Just Another Day" Mainstream Rock Tracks 13
1997 "Just Another Day" Adult Contemporary 24


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  3. ^ No Depression review
  4. ^ Album reviews at CD Universe
  5. ^ Rolling Stone review
  6. ^ - Discography - John Mellencamp - Mr. Happy Go Lucky
  7. ^ - Artist Chart History - John Mellencamp