Woodrow (Woody) Baker died Tuesday at his home in Elnora, Indiana.
He was 94.
Baker was a Navy veteran of World War II, a member of the V.F.W. and American
Legion. He was a welder for over 50 years.
He was also the working man sitting next to a much younger John Mellencamp at
the Midway Tavern in Elnora on the cover of his 1987 album "The Lonesome
"He was proud of it. He bragged about it," his son--who's also known as
Woody-told the Bloomington Herald. "It was a pretty amazing thing. I still have
younger guys, co-workers, come up to me and say, 'Isn't that your dad on the
cover of 'The Lonesome Jubilee'? They just can't believe it. It's just something
that has never gone away."
According to the Herald, the bartender was asked if he knew an older, working Read More
03/13/2009 - The death last week of Jimmy Boyd has brought renewed attention to his signature
hit “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” which John covered for the first volume
of the “A Very Special Christmas” compilations. The set, which came out in 1989,
featured a spirited Cajun-flavored take on the classic tune, which Boyd took to
the top of the Billboard charts in 1952.|
Turns out the song was commissioned by the Neiman Marcus department store chain
to promote its annual Christmas card. Boyd’s hit, which the New York Times said
he recorded when “he was a skinny, red-headed kid of 12,” was banned by the
Roman Catholic Church in Boston, its claim being that it mixed sex with
Christmas. Boyd was apparently widely photographed meeting with the Archdiocese
to explain the song! The ban was subsequently lifted the following Christmas,
when the recording again topped the charts. It has since sold over 60 million
copies; to commemorate the first three million, Columbia Records gave Boyd, who
lov Read More
02/26/2009 - CMT Insider News has a two-minute report on the making of “A Ride Back Home,”
the latest video from John’s “Life Death Love and Freedom” album. |
In it, John discusses the concept behind the album, with guest vocalist Karen
Fairchild of country group Little Big Town noting that “A Ride Back Home”
concerns “a man contemplating his life.”
John explains that he wrote the song while thinking about the human condition
and the “generally bad” nature of humanity. A lighter moment finds him hoping
that viewers will get to see more of the beautiful Fairchild: “I don’t know
who’d want to see an old guy like me!” he jokes.
He also distinguishes the video from his recent political-themed clips in
relating that the new one returns to the “more traditional” John Mellencamp
video style--as he told Mellencamp.com last week.
Click Read More
02/23/2009 - Peter Cooper • Staff Writer |
Bloomington, Ind., isn't much of a destination spot in the winter, except for
basketball players looking to beat up on the disappointing 2008-09 version of
the state university's Hoosier hoopsters.
Yet Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild found herself up in Bloomington last week,
shooting a video with John Mellencamp for a song called "A Ride Back Home."
The song is from John's Life, Death, Love and Freedom album, produced by T-Bone
Burnett (who also produced the Grammy-winning Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
album), and Karen features prominently as a harmony vocalist on the album. "A
Ride Back Home" is a duet, and Mellencamp's peeps are hoping the video will
receive airplay on GAC and CMT.
"I would love it if country radio would play that," Karen said. "The song is one
of my favorites on the record. John says it's about loneliness. For me, it seems
like a song about a man contemplating his life and asking the Read More
02/17/2009 - By David Lindquist|
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In a 12-pew church with a small graveyard outside the door,
John Mellencamp sang about death this afternoon.
Technically, he didn't sing but mouthed the lyrics to "A Ride Back Home" several
times during the making of a music video at Beck Chapel on the campus of Indiana
Classes were in session on Presidents Day, allowing students to pause between
classes and catch a glimpse of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
"Mr. Mellencamp, can we get a picture," called out one student during a break in
When the singer barked "Take it," he managed to be cantankerous and good-natured
in the same breath.
It was a day of minimal agitation for 57-year-old Mellencamp, who worked with
camera, lighting and sound specialists -- all veterans of man Read More
02/17/2009 - Jeremy Brilliant/Eyewitness News|
Bloomington - There was a Hoosier homecoming for John Mellencamp Monday, who
spent the day making a music video on the IU campus.
The low-key production took place in the middle of the day at Indiana
University, but nothing was closed down, no roads, no classrooms, just a tiny
chapel next to the student union. In fact, many students at the university were
oblivious to the rock legend standing just a few feet away from them in the
heart of campus.
Inside Beck Chapel, Mellencamp and country singer Karen Fairchild lip-synched
the words to "A Ride Back Home" from Mellencamp's new album - "Life, Death, Love
"It's always an honor to be asked to be part of this album, so to be a part of
the video is even a better deal," Fairchild said. "She sang on like half the
album with me in this fashion, so it just made perfect sense."
During concerts, Mellencamp has stopped his song and asked the au Read More
02/17/2009 - By Mike Leonard |
Cozy Beck Chapel has seen thousands of weddings since it was built in 1956.
On Monday, it was the setting for a funeral of sorts — the filming of a video
for the gospel-tinged song “A Ride Back Home” from John Mellencamp’s current
album, “Life Death Love and Freedom.”
“But I don’t see it as sad,” said Elaine Mellencamp, John’s wife and executive
producer of the video. “It’s more of a timeless, positive spiritual message.
When I look at this chapel, I think of June Carter and the Carter family up
The song clearly embraces a gospel theme, with the singer musing over a hard
life that has come to an end and asking forgiveness in the line: “Hey Jesus, can
you give me a ride back home?”
“There actually was a conversation about taking it to gospel radio,” Mellencamp
said as he took a break out Read More
02/17/2009 - Singing a duet with Karen Fairchild|
By Gene Rodriguez
Edited by Andrew Bonner
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) - Hoosier rocker John Mellencamp was back in
Bloomington Monday. He let 24-Hour News 8 onto the set of his latest music video
starring himself and Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild.
"We met on tour and then he invited us to sing on a record… and then he invited
me to sing a few songs on this record. It's quite an honor," said Fairchild.
Fairchild sang four songs on Mellencamp's newest album. The two met up at Beck
Chapel on the IU campus to film their duet, "A Ride Back home."
"With his writing, you are always wondering exactly what he's meaning. There is
always deeper meanings, I think, to the surface of the song," said Fairchild.
"Life, Death, Love and Freedom" is the name of Mellencamp’s most recent album.
"I wrote all the songs for this record in about a 12-day period," said
Mellen Read More
02/17/2009 - By Jackie Kochell | IDS|
As studio lights covered the stained glass windows of Beck Chapel on Monday,
inside a videographer set up a camera near the organ to shoot part of John
Mellencamp’s new music video.
Students bustling by stopped to snap photos of the singer on their phones,
shouting things like “Rockin’ in the USA!” while Mellencamp, dressed in black,
stood outside during a break.
The musician shot his new music video for “A Ride Back Home,” a single off his
latest album, “Life, Death, Love and Freedom.”
With Beck Chapel as his background, Mellencamp and his band said they hoped to
convey the song’s emotion.
“The song’s about life’s loneliness, and that’s what we’re trying to get across
in this video,” Mellencamp said.
Mellencamp wanted to shoot at Beck Chapel because of its intimacy and his
longtime support of IU. The University allowed Mellencamp to tape inside the
chapel and in the cemetery outside.
His wife and Read More
02/16/2009 - Posted by Sarah Harlan|
BLOOMINGTON, IN (NBC) - Singer John Mellencamp was at Indiana University Monday,
making a music video.
Not much had to be closed down: no roads, no classrooms, just a tiny chapel next
to the student union.
This was about as low-key as a production can get.
Many students at Indiana University were oblivious to the rock legend standing
just feet away from them in the heart of the Bloomington campus.
Inside the tiny Beck Chapel, John Mellencamp and country singer Karen Fairchild
lip-synched the words to "A Ride Back Home", from Mellencamp's new album "Life,
Death, Love and Freedom".
"It's always an honor to be asked to be part of this album, so to be a part of
the video is even a better deal," Fairchild said.
"She sang on like half the album with me in this fashion, so it just made
perfect sense," Mellencamp said.
During concerts, Mellencamp has stopped his song, and asked the Read More
02/14/2009 - John's "Pink Houses" has inspired an act of kindness by a group of Winnipeg high
According to the United Way of Winnipeg's report of funded projects for its
"Youth Connections" programs from 2007 to 2008, a $322 grant was given to Kelvin
High School student volunteers who painted a house in the Point Douglas area.
The project, which took four days to paint a one and a-half story house "despite
the risk of rain showers," was completed last May. It was named "Little Pink
Houses" after the song, although the house itself was not painted pink.
"The students volunteered their time and energy to reach a united goal and
demonstrated a significant act of kindness to a local homeowner," stated the
"Youth Connections," incidentally, applies to "young people 16-24 who want to
make a difference in Wpg." Other funded projects acknowledged include a youth
soccer tournament for African youth in Winnipeg, a homework mentor Read More
02/09/2009 - The Martin 00-18S John Mellencamp Custom Artist Edition guitar is now available at retail.|
Announced in September, the Mellencamp guitar model was introduced last month at the NAMM music instrument trade show in Anaheim. According to C.F. Martin & Co., Martin dealers are now placing orders, and expectations are high for a successful rollout despite the severe economic downturn.
“Under normal circumstances we’d have a great sales projection,” said Chris Thomas, Martin’s manager of artist relations manager. “But we’ve noticed like everything else, things are slow now. But our dealers love [the Mellencamp Martin] and want one in the stores to show customers, so we’re hopeful that three months from now, when we have a better idea of where we stand in terms of sales, things will look better.”
02/08/2009 - The current issue of Rolling Stone (Sean Penn is on the cover) has a special
“Backstage at the Rock & Roll Inauguration” feature that includes a picture of
Elaine and John applauding the festivities. Of his performance at the historic
“We Are One” concert at the Lincoln Memorial, John said: “I played to the
president. The rest of the people looked like a painting.”|
02/05/2009 - Am I the only John Mellencamp fan who’s also a Lawrence Welk fan?|
Apparently not. A recent post on the Lawrence Welk Show tribute site ingeniously matches the modified lyrics to the first verse of “Jack and Diane” to stills of the Welk show’s wonderful singer/dancer Mary Lou Metzger, with dance partner Jack Imel. Hence the new title, “Jack and Mary Lou,” “with my apologies to John Mellencamp,” according to the poster.
But I bet I’m the only one who ever attended sold-out shows of both John Mellencamp and Lawrence Welk at the Dane County Coliseum in Madison, Wisconsin. Both, incidentally, were unforgettable!
-- jim bessman