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Kean Radio: Rocker John Mellencamp Was A Country Music Artist 3 Decades Ahead Of His Time
04.09.2013 - By David Wheaton -  Kean Radio

I was recently taking a cyber-stroll down memory lane, watching some of my favorite music videos on YouTube. I don’t tend to dwell on how old I am too often, but when I do, I always seem to make interesting discoveries as the past relates to present day. This time, I discovered that rock singer John Mellencamp‘s 30-year old songs would make for great country music today.

John Mellencamp is of my favorite artists from the 80′s. A staple on rock & roll and pop radio for more than a decade, the artist once known as John Cougar was a certified hit maker. What I knew and appreciated about him is that he had important things to say, and his songs spoke to regular folks. I loved that Mellencamp was a voice for blue collar Americans, especially farmers. I’m not ashamed to admit that a couple of his songs still give me chill bumps, like ‘Scarecrow’. Watch the video here:

While watching John Mellencamp on MTV in the mid-80′s, I had no idea I was seeing mainstream country music, three decades ahead of its time. It’s suddenly obvious to me.

Mellencamp co-founded Farm Aid with country icon Willie Nelson in 1985. If that’s not something a country singer would do, I don’t know what is. Songs like ‘Pink Houses‘ (Ain’t That America), ‘Small Town‘, ‘Jack & Diane‘ and ‘Authority Song‘ are all songs that you could hear on country radio today.

All this time, I thought I had evolved into a country music fan over the years. But I’m starting to realize that not only is that true (I’ve grown to love and appreciate Willie, Cash, Merle, Hank and several other legends), but country music has evolved to become like John Mellencamp and other pop rock artists that I’ve always loved from decades past.

This sparks an idea. A few years back, country music artists came together to create a tribute album to the rock band The Eagles. I think it would be a great idea for a similar project to come together for John Mellencamp. What do you think?
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real country?

if you want real country, back in my day i was raised up with cw music from the early 50's and 60's. now that was true country music. such artist as sonny james, tex ritter, merle haggard, ray price, eddie aronold, patsy cline. true cw music started fading in the 70's as blue grass was being mixed in. theres nothing like the old timers, and there never will be again. as far as jm and bs no near country western, just modern day singers thats all.

Posted by geegee 2013-04-11 22:59:06.

John Country?

I completely disagree. It's just the opposite. What we see now is the country stars of today wanting to be rockers. Back in the early 80's we slipped in a few things by Bruce Springsteen into the country playlist and songs like Stand On it, Pink Cadillac and Johnny 99 were all covered by country artists.. Today it seems like the country guys want to be Bruce or Jimmy Buffet. To me somebody like Keith Urban is no more that a Brian Adams with a little (and I do mean little) twang. I am not a music snob. If you like something cool. To each his own. But I don't like labels. It's not that John was country, it's just the county people want to be rock.

Posted by fastfreddie 2013-04-11 18:05:12.

 
 

 

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