Jack & Diane

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"Jack & Diane"
John cougar-jack diane s.jpg
Single by John Cougar
from the album American Fool
B-side"Can You Take It"
ReleasedJuly 24, 1982
StudioCriteria (Miami)[1]
Songwriter(s)John Mellencamp
Producer(s)John Mellencamp, Don Gehman[1]
John Cougar singles chronology
"Hurts So Good"
"Jack & Diane"
"Hand to Hold On To"
Music video
"Jack & Diane" on YouTube

"Jack & Diane" is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter John Mellencamp, then performing as "John Cougar." Described by critics as a "love ballad,"[4][5][6][7] this song was released as the second single from Mellencamp's 1982 album American Fool, and was chosen by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as one of the Songs of the Century. It spent four weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982 and is Mellencamp's most successful hit single.

American singer-songwriter Jessica Simpson inserted a sample in her song "I Think I'm in Love with You," taken from the album Sweet Kisses.

In 2018 country singer Jake Owen sampled this and as a tribute song titled I Was Jack (You Were Diane).

Background and production[edit]

According to Mellencamp, "Jack & Diane" was based on the 1962 Tennessee Williams film Sweet Bird of Youth.[8] He said of recording the song: "'Jack & Diane' was a terrible record to make. When I play it on guitar by myself, it sounds great; but I could never get the band to play along with me. That's why the arrangement's so weird. Stopping and starting, it's not very musical." Mellencamp has also stated that the clapping was used only to help keep time and was supposed to be removed in the final mix. However, he chose to leave the clapping in once he realized that the song would not work without it.

In 2014 Mellencamp revealed that the song was originally about an interracial couple, where Jack was African American and not a football star, but he was persuaded by the record company to change it.[9]

The song was recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida, and was produced by Mellencamp and Don Gehman (with Gehman also engineering). Backing Mellencamp were guitarists/backing vocalists Mick Ronson, Mike Wanchic, Larry Crane, drummer Kenny Aronoff, bassist/backing vocalist Robert Frank, and keyboardist Eric Rosser.[1]

In 1982, producer and guitarist Mick Ronson worked with Mellencamp on his American Fool album, and in particular on "Jack & Diane." In a 2008 interview with Classic Rock magazine, Mellencamp recalled:

Mick was very instrumental in helping me arrange that song, as I'd thrown it on the junk heap. Ronson came down and played on three or four tracks and worked on the American Fool record for four or five weeks. All of a sudden, for 'Jack & Diane,' Mick said, 'Johnny, you should put baby rattles on there.' I thought, 'What the f*ck does put baby rattles on the record mean?' So he put the percussion on there and then he sang the part 'let it rock, let it roll' as a choir-ish-type thing, which had never occurred to me. And that is the part everybody remembers on the song. It was Ronson's idea.[10]

Cash Box said that "this shuffling pop 'ditty'...has a certain power that hits to the heartland with a warm, descriptive storyline that’s both personal and universal."[11]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[23] Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[24] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[25] Gold 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Best That I Could Do 1978–1988 (CD liner). John Mellencamp. US: Mercury Records. 1997. p. 10. 314 536 738-2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  2. ^ Masciotra, David (2015). Mellencamp: American Troubadour. University Press of Kentucky. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-8131-4734-5.
  3. ^ Himes, Geoffrey (July 22, 1992). "JOHN MELLENCAMP". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  4. ^ Bassett, Shane A. "Kylie Minogue At The Movies". Sydney Unleashed. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  5. ^ Lee, Peter (May 9, 2008). "Play Guitar Like John Cougar Mellencamp". Hooks and Harmony. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  6. ^ Miller, Hanna (July 6, 2005). "Hurts so good". Mountain Xpress. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  7. ^ Zhe, Mike (August 31, 2012). "No looking back for champion Clipper football team". seacoastonline.com. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  8. ^ "Mellencamp discusses Jack and Diane". Soundcloud.
  9. ^ Buxton, Ryan (September 23, 2014). "John Mellencamp's 'Jack & Diane' Was Originally Written About An Interracial Couple". HuffPost. Archived from the original on November 2, 2019.
  10. ^ John Mellencamp, Classic Rock, January 2008, p.61
  11. ^ "Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. July 24, 1982. p. 10. Retrieved July 7, 2022.
  12. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  13. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  14. ^ Steffen Hung. "John Cougar – Jack & Diane". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  15. ^ Brian Currin. "South African Rock Lists Website – SA Charts 1965 – 1989 Acts (M)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  16. ^ "John Cougar – Jack and Diane". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  17. ^ a b Jack & Diane at AllMusic
  18. ^ "Cash Box Top Singles – 1982". Cash Box. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
  19. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  20. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". collectionscanada.gc.ca.
  21. ^ "Talent in Action : Top Pop Singles". Billboard. 94 (51): TIA-20. December 25, 1982.
  22. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  23. ^ "Canadian single certifications – John Cougar Mellancamp – Jack & Diane". Music Canada. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  24. ^ "British single certifications – John Mellencamp – Jack and Diane". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  25. ^ "American single certifications – John Mellencamp – Jack &". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 18, 2022.

External links[edit]