Scarecrow (John Mellencamp album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Studio album by John Cougar Mellencamp
Released September 1985 (1985-09)
Recorded March 20 - April 29, 1985, in Belmont, Indiana
Genre Rock, Americana
Length 41:07
Label Riva
Producer Little Bastard, Don Gehman
John Cougar Mellencamp chronology
The Lonesome Jubilee
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Kerrang! 5/5 stars[5]
Robert Christgau B+[2]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[4]

Scarecrow is the eighth album by John Mellencamp. Released in September 1985, it peaked at #2 on the U.S. chart behind Heart's comeback album, Heart. The remastered version was released May 24, 2005 on Mercury/Island/UMe and includes one bonus track.[6]

This album contained three Top 10 hits, a record for a Mellencamp album: "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.," which peaked at #2 in the U.S.; "Lonely Ol' Night," which peaked at #6; and "Small Town," which also peaked at #6. "Lonely Ol' Night" also peaked at #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, his second chart-topping single on this chart.

In 1989, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Scarecrow #95 on its list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s, saying: "Scarecrow consolidated the band's rugged, roots-rock thrash and the ongoing maturation of Mellencamp's lyrics."[7]

Rolling Stone also reported that band spent a month in rehearsals, playing a hundred rock and roll songs from the Sixties before going into the studio. According to the record's producer, Don Gehman, the idea was to "learn all these devices from the past and use them in a new way with John's arrangements."

The overall theme of the album is the fading of the American dream in the face of corporate greed. Rolling Stone wrote that songs such as "Face of the Nation," "Minutes to Memories" and "Small Town" have a "bittersweet, reflective tone."

Song Insights[edit]

"I wrote a song called 'Stand For Something'," Mellencamp explained to Creem Magazine in late 1985, "but I never did say what you should stand for – except your own truth. That song was supposed to be funny, too, and I hope people got that. But I think that's the key to the whole LP – suggesting that each person come to grips with their own individual truth – and try to like themselves a little bit more. Find out what you as a person are – and don't let the world drag you down. People should have respect for and believe in themselves."[8]

Mellencamp told Creem that he was "kinda disappointed" in 'R.O.C.K. (In The U.S.A.)' and 'Justice And Independence '85', saying: "I don't think people are getting the idea of what the song's about, so I must've not done a very good job."[9]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by John Mellencamp, except where noted.

  1. "Rain on the Scarecrow" (Mellencamp, George M. Green) – 3:46
  2. "Grandma's Theme" (traditional) – 0:56
  3. "Small Town" – 3:41
  4. "Minutes to Memories" (Mellencamp, Green) – 4:11
  5. "Lonely Ol' Night" – 3:45
  6. "The Face of the Nation" – 3:13
  7. "Justice and Independence '85" – 3:32
  8. "Between a Laugh and a Tear" – 4:32
  9. "Rumbleseat" – 2:58
  10. "You've Got to Stand for Somethin'" – 4:32
  11. "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. (A Salute to 60's Rock)" – 2:54
  12. "The Kind of Fella I Am" (cassette and CD only)^ – 2:55
  13. "Small Town" (acoustic version) (2005 re-issue bonus track) - 4:14

^also appears as the B-side to "Lonely Ol' Night"


  • John Cougar Mellencamp - vocals, guitar
  • Larry Crane - electric guitars, acoustic guitars, backing vocals
  • Kenny Aronoff - drums, tambourine, vibes, backing vocals
  • Mike Wanchic - electric guitars, backing vocals
  • Toby Myers - electric bass, backing vocals


  • John Cascella - keyboards
  • Rickie Lee Jones - vocals on "Between a Laugh and a Tear"
  • Sarah Flint - background vocals on "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A."
  • Laura Mellencamp (John Mellencamp's grandmother) - lead vocal on "Grandma's Theme"
  • Mimi Mapes - backing vocals on "Minutes to Memories"
  • A. Jack Wilkins - saxophone on "Justice and Independence '85"
  • Richard Fanning - trumpet on "Justice and Independence '85"
  • Ry Cooder - slide guitar on "The Kind of Fella I Am"



Year Chart Position
1985 Billboard 200 2


Year Single Chart Position
1985 "Lonely Ol' Night" Billboard Hot 100 6
1985 "Small Town" Billboard Hot 100 6
1985 "Small Town" Adult Contemporary 2
1986 "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." Billboard Hot 100 2
1986 "Rain on the Scarecrow" Billboard Hot 100 21
1986 "Rumbleseat" Billboard Hot 100 28

Charted album tracks

Year Title Chart Position
1985 "Lonely Ol' Night" Billboard Top Rock Tracks 1
1985 "Small Town" Billboard Top Rock Tracks 2
1985 "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." Billboard Top Rock Tracks 6
1985 "Rain on the Scarecrow" Billboard Top Rock Tracks 16
1985 "Justice and Independence '85" Billboard Top Rock Tracks 28
1986 "Minutes to Memories" Billboard Top Rock Tracks 14
1986 "Rumbleseat" Billboard Top Rock Tracks 4


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Scarecrow - John Mellencamp". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: John Cougar Mellencamp". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  3. ^ Guterman, Jimmy (1985-09-26). "Scarecrow". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  4. ^ "John Mellencamp: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  5. ^ Johnson, Howard (3 October 1985). "Crow's Feat". Kerrang! 104. London, UK: Morgan Grampian. p. 10. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ The Editors (1989-11-16). "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980's". Rolling Stone (565). 
  8. ^ "John Cougar Mellencamp: Working Class Hero In The Rumbleseat". Creem Magazine. 
  9. ^ "John Cougar Mellencamp: Working Class Hero In The Rumbleseat". Creem Magazine.