John Mellencamp collaborates with fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Bruce Springsteen on the newly released song “Wasted Days.”
A mid-tempo meditation on making the most of the time we have, “Wasted Days” is a Mellencamp composition slated to appear on his next album.
Mellencamp and Springsteen each sing a verse and they divide a third verse equally. On the song’s chorus, Mellencamp offers weathered vocals while Springsteen adds high harmonies.
“How many summers still remain,” Mellencamp asks at the beginning of “Wasted Days.” “How many days are lost in vain?” During one of Springsteen’s spotlights, he sings, “Who on earth is worth our time? Is there a heart here that I can call mine?”
A video to accompany the song shows Mellencamp and Springsteen playing cards as well as guitars.
The song is notable for being a first-ever duet for rock stars who experienced simultaneous mainstream success in the 1980s. Crossing paths in public has been rare.
Mellencamp and Springsteen each contributed songs to the 1988 compilation album “Folkways: A Vision Shared – A Tribute to Woody Guthrie & Leadbelly.” Mellencamp and Springsteen have performed at multi-act events ranging from 1995’s Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland to President Obama’s inaugural celebration at Lincoln Memorial in 2009.
Mellencamp sang a rendition of Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” when Springsteen received Kennedy Center Honors in 2009.
In a 1989 Rolling Stone interview, Mellencamp said, “I like (Springsteen). Every time I've been around him, he's been a blue-chip fella to me.”
A more substantial friendship apparently was forged when the musicians sang together at the benefit concert for The Rainforest Fund at New York’s Beacon Theatre in 2019.
Earlier this year, Mellencamp told Billboard magazine that Springsteen sings and plays guitar on Mellencamp’s upcoming album. In June, Springsteen shared more details during an interview on SiriusXM’s E Street Radio: “I worked on three songs on John’s album and I spent some time in Indiana with him. I love John a lot. He’s a great songwriter and I have become very close (with him) and had a lot of fun with him.”
Springsteen, who celebrated his 72nd birthday on Sept. 23, recently hosted Mellencamp in New Jersey – a visit documented by at least one fan on social media. Mellencamp will turn 70 on Oct. 7.
“Wasted Days” features Mellencamp’s band and Springsteen on electric guitar. Violin player Miriam Sturm and accordion player Troye Kinnett are featured soloists.