Lonely Ol' Night

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"Lonely Ol' Night"
Lonely Ol' Night Single.jpg
Single by John Cougar Mellencamp
from the album Scarecrow
B-side "The Kind of Fella I Am"
Released August 24, 1985
Format 7" 45 RPM
Recorded April 9, 1985 [1]at Belmont Mall, Belmont, Indiana
Genre Rock
Length 3:45
Label Riva
Writer(s) John Mellencamp
Producer(s) Little Bastard, Don Gehman[2]
John Cougar Mellencamp singles chronology
"Authority Song"
"Lonely Ol' Night"
"Small Town"
Music video
"Lonely Ol' Night" on YouTube

"Lonely Ol' Night" is a rock song written and performed by singer-songwriter John Mellencamp. It appeared on his 1985 album Scarecrow, and was released as a single, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached number 1 on the Top Rock Tracks chart, staying at the top spot for five weeks.[3]

Background and recording[edit]

The title of "Lonely Ol' Night" was inspired by a scene in the 1963 film Hud starring Paul Newman, based on a book by Larry McMurtry. Mellencamp had seen the film many times as a young man, and its portrayal of Newman's character's strained relationship with his father affected Mellencamp deeply, inspiring many of his song ideas.[4]:73

The recording of "Lonely Ol' Night" occurred on April 9, 1985, according to the "Scarecrow" liner notes. The song was recorded at Belmont Mall in Belmont, Indiana, was produced by Mellencamp (under the alias "Little Bastard") and Don Gehman, engineered by Gehman and Greg Edward. Backing Mellencamp were Kenny Aronoff (drums), Toby Myers (bass), Larry Crane (guitar), and Mike Wanchic (guitar, background vocals).[2]

Release and charts[edit]

"Lonely Ol' Night" was the lead single from Scarecrow,[4]:77 following his previous hit single "Authority Song" (from 1983's Uh-Huh) to the Billboard Hot 100, where it debuted August 24, 1985. It peaked at number 6 on that chart and reached number 1 on the Top Rock Tracks chart, staying at the top spot for five weeks. It was Mellencamp's second chart-topper on the Top Rock Tracks chart, following 1982's "Hurts So Good".[3]

Chart performances[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
Canada (RPM100 Singles)[5] 7
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[6] 50
US Billboard Hot 100[3] 6
US Billboard Top Rock Tracks[3] 1

Music video[edit]

The video for "Lonely Ol' Night" was shot in and around Bloomington, Indiana. The wife of lyricist George Green, friend of Mellencamp's and co-writer of "Hurts So Good," "Crumblin' Down," and "Rain on the Scarecrow," appeared as Mellencamp's girlfriend in the video. According to the Mellencamp biography Born in a Small Town, Green's wife had told Mellencamp not to put "pretty girls" in the video, as it would be unrealistic to suggest their nights would be lonely; Mellencamp replied by offering her a role in the video.[4]:77

In 1985, Mellencamp performed "Lonely Ol' Night" at the MTV Video Music Awards.[7] The song has since become a concert highlight of Mellencamp's.[4]:93 It has also appeared on Mellencamp's greatest hits compilations The Best That I Could Do 1978–1988 and Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits.[8]


External links[edit]