Scarecrow (John Mellencamp album)

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Scarecrow
Mellencamp-scarecrow.jpg
Studio album by John Cougar Mellencamp
Released September 5, 1985 (1985-09-05)
Recorded March 20 - April 29, 1985, in Belmont, Indiana
Genre Americana, rock
Length 41:07
Label Riva
Producer John Mellencamp, Don Gehman
John Cougar Mellencamp chronology
Uh-Huh
(1983)Uh-Huh1983
Scarecrow
(1985)
The Lonesome Jubilee
(1987)The Lonesome Jubilee1987
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 studio 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."

In his 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit, Mellencamp said: "With Scarecrow, I was finally starting to find my feet as a songwriter. Finally, for the first time, I realized what I thought I wanted to say in song. ...I wanted it to be more akin to Tennessee Williams, John Steinbeck, Faulkner, as opposed to the Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan."

Songs[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."[8]

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 (In The Baggage Coach Ahead)" (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"

Personnel[edit]

  • John 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"

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Year Chart Position
1985 Billboard 200 2

Charted songs[edit]

Year Title Billboard Hot 100 Adult Contemporary Top Rock Tracks Notes
1985 "Lonely Ol' Night" 6 1
1985 "Small Town" 6 2 2
1985 "Justice and Independence '85" 28 non-single album track
1986 "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." 2 6
1986 "Rain on the Scarecrow" 21 16
1986 "Minutes to Memories" 14 non-single album track
1986 "Rumbleseat" 28 4

References[edit]

  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. ^ "John Mellencamp - Official Website :: Discography". www.mellencamp.com. Retrieved 18 July 2017. 
  7. ^ The Editors (1989-11-16). "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980's". Rolling Stone (565). 
  8. ^ a b "John Cougar Mellencamp: Working Class Hero In The Rumbleseat". Creem Magazine.