Crumblin' Down

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"Crumblin' Down"
Crumblin' Down Mellencamp.jpg
Single by John Cougar Mellencamp
from the album Uh-Huh
B-side"Golden Gates"
ReleasedOctober 1983
Songwriter(s)John Mellencamp, George Green
Producer(s)John Mellencamp, Don Gehman
John Cougar Mellencamp singles chronology
"Hand to Hold on To"
"Crumblin' Down"
"Pink Houses"

"Crumblin' Down" is a rock song co-written and performed by John Mellencamp, released as the lead single from his 1983 album Uh-Huh. It was a top-ten hit on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and Canadian pop charts, and it reached #2 on the US Mainstream Rock charts.


"Crumblin' Down" was written by Mellencamp and longtime writing partner George Green. It was the last song recorded for Uh-Huh; after listening to the masters for the other tracks recorded, Mellencamp decided that the album needed a song that would work as the album's lead single. He contacted Green, with whom he had previously written "Hurts So Good," to solicit ideas. Green had begun a song with lines about walls crumbling down; he and Mellencamp then built the song by trading lines, attempting to top one another.[1]:64

According to Green, the song attempts to answer the question of what to do when success eventually fades, and "the big-time deal falls through."[1]:64 The song touches on Mellencamp's fame as well as the frustrations of losing one's livelihood: the lyrics were inspired, in part, by Mellencamp's cousin losing his job as an electrical engineer.[1]:65

In a 2016 Mellencamp-dedicated exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a display was emblazoned with the following quote from Mellencamp: "Crumblin' Down is a very political song that I wrote with my childhood friend George Green. Reagan was president - he was deregulating everything and the walls were crumbling down on the poor. The song was the last one recorded and the first single. It was a hit immediately. I felt like I was pulling the wool over everyone's eyes."

The video for "Crumblin' Down" received heavy play on MTV. It featured a chain-smoking Mellencamp in intentionally ripped denim jeans, dancing and kicking over chairs.[1]:65 "Crumblin' Down" was the first single released by Mellencamp to include his real last name: previous releases were credited to "John Cougar."[2]

"Crumblin' Down" was the lead single from Uh-Huh,[1]:65 following his previous hit single "Hand to Hold on To" (from 1982's American Fool) to the Billboard Top 40, where it debuted October 22, 1983.[2] It peaked at number 9 on that chart and at number 2 on the Mainstream Rock chart.[3]

"Crumblin' Down" is also included on Mellencamp's greatest hits compilations The Best That I Could Do 1978–1988 and Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits.[4]

In the Season 2 of the hit 1980s TV series Knight Rider, an episode titled "White Line Warriors" features the song playing on the radio when burglaries in a small town take place.


  1. ^ a b c d e Johnson, Heather (November 1, 2007). Born In A Small Town. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-8256-7336-8.
  2. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (8th Edition). Billboard Books. p. 419. ISBN 0-8230-7499-4.
  3. ^ "John Mellencamp: Billboard Singles". allmusic. Retrieved November 7, 2010.
  4. ^ "John Mellencamp: Crumblin' Down". allmusic. Retrieved November 7, 2010.

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