Paper in Fire

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"Paper in Fire"
Paper in Fire Mellencamp.jpg
Single by John Cougar Mellencamp
from the album The Lonesome Jubilee
B-side "Never Too Old"
Released August 15, 1987 (1987-08-15)
Format 7", CD single
Recorded Belmont Mall Studio, Indiana
Genre Heartland rock
Length 3:51
Label Mercury
Songwriter(s) John Mellencamp
Producer(s) John Mellencamp, Don Gehman
John Cougar Mellencamp singles chronology
"Paper in Fire"
"Cherry Bomb"

"Paper in Fire"
"Cherry Bomb"

"Paper in Fire" is a song by American rock singer John Mellencamp, released as the first single from his ninth studio album The Lonesome Jubilee.

The song was a success in the U.S., reaching #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and becoming a top ten hit on the main Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also topped the Canadian Singles Chart, and charted on various European singles charts.


In a 1989 interview with the BBC, Mellencamp said: "'Paper in Fire' deals with a lot of biblical things – paper in fire, in fact, is hell, and is referred to in the Bible as hell. 'A man will be cast into paper in fire.' It's in there, believe me, it's in there. That's where that term came from."

The line, "we keep no check on our appetites," from the song's final verse, was cited in the 1963 movie Hud, which is one of Mellencamp's favorite movies and has inspired many of his songs.

Track listing[edit]

7" single
  1. "Paper in Fire" – 3:53
  2. "Never Too Old" – 3:45
CDV single
  1. "Paper in Fire" – 3:48
  2. "Never Too Old" – 3:43
  3. "Under the Boardwalk" – 3:51
  4. "Cold Sweat" – 3:23
  5. "Paper in Fire" (video) – 3:57


Chart (1987) Peak position
Australian Singles Chart 13[citation needed]
Canadian Singles Chart[1] 1
New Zealand Singles Chart[2] 16
South African Singles Chart[3] 8
UK Singles Chart[4] 86
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[5] 9
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 1[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Every Number One Single 1983-1999". The Record. David Farrell and Associates. Retrieved 2016-07-29. 
  2. ^ " – John Cougar Mellencamp – Paper in Fire". Retrieved 2011-05-18. 
  3. ^ Retrieved 15 May 2015
  4. ^ "Chart Stats – John Cougar Mellencamp". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2011-05-10. 
  5. ^ "John Mellencamp Album & Song Chart History". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2011-05-18. 

External links[edit]