Monday, August 24, 1987

John Cougar Mellencamp released The Lonesome Jubilee

First posted 6/22/2010; updated 9/20/2020.

The Lonesome Jubilee

John Cougar Mellencamp

Released: August 24, 1987

Peak: 6 US, 31 UK, 18 CN, 2 AU

Sales (in millions): 3.5 US, -- UK, 3.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic heartland rock


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Paper in Fire [3:53] (8/15/87, 9 US, 1 AR, 86 UK, 3 CN, 13 AU)
  2. Down and Out in Paradise [3:39]
  3. Check It Out [4:20] (2/6/88, 14 US, 3 AR, 96 UK, 10 CN, 22 AU)
  4. The Real Life [3:56] (9/12/87, 3 AR)
  5. Cherry Bomb [4:49] (9/5/87, 8 US, 1 AR, 12 AC, 5 CN, 20 AU)
  6. We Are the People [4:16]
  7. Empty Hands (Green/ Mellencamp) [3:44]
  8. Hard Times for an Honest Man [3:28] (9/5/87, 10 AR)
  9. Hotdogs and Hamburgers [4:04]
  10. Rooty Toot Toot [3:29] (5/7/88, 61 US, 7 AR, 19 CN, 54 AU)

Total Running Time: 39:38


4.486 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)

Quotable: “Song for song, The Lonesome Jubilee is Mellencamp's strongest album.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


About the Album:

“John Mellencamp's fascination with the American heartland came into full flower on Scarecrow, but with its follow-up, The Lonesome Jubilee, he began exploring American folk musics, adding fiddle, accordions, and acoustic guitars to his band, which allowed him to explore folk and country.” STE

“The expansion of his band coincided with his continuing growth as a songwriter. Song for song, The Lonesome Jubilee is Mellencamp’s strongest album, the record where he captured his romantic, if decidedly melancholy, vision of working-class America.” STE “The lyrics are a mix of social comment and reflection, and nostalgic descriptions of younger life and the process of maturing.” WK This is ground he has tread before, but on Jubilee he does it “better than ever, and his music is richer, which gives the album resonance.” STE

Paper in Fire is a cautionary tale concerned with the cost of chasing our dreams. Down and Out in Paradise chronicles a series of stories of economic and social hardship as if told to the President, who at the time was Ronald Reagan. Check It Out is a commentary on day to day existence that fosters the hope that future generations will understand better how to live. The Real Life continues the these of concern about the way lives are lived, and includes two vignettes of the lives of ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Jackson Jackson.’” WK

Cherry Bomb is a nostalgic but fundamentally happy review of the narrators life – ‘we were young and we were improving.’ We Are the People lists categories of people – the homeless, the oppressed, people in pain – against the refrain ‘May my thoughts be with you.’” WK

“Unemployment and its effect on the narrator and his wife Maryanne, is the subject of Empty Hands. Hard Times for an Honest Man continues the existential theme, noting, against a backdrop of two more cautionary tales, that ‘the rent we pay to stay here gets high.’ Hotdogs and Hamburgers addresses the question of right and wrong, and the need for personal choice, within a narrative describing the a lift given to an Indian girl on Route 66.” WK

Rooty Toot Toot, like ‘Cherry Bomb,’ is a happy nostalgic tale of the narrator’s youth. Mellencamp originally wrote the song as a nursery rhyme for his daughter, Teddi Jo, who had asked her father to use her name in one of his songs. After it was written, Mellencamp and his band turned ‘Rooty Toot Toot’ into a rock song.” WK

Notes: “Blues from the Front Porch” was added to a 2005 reissue as a bonus track.

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Tuesday, August 18, 1987

Aerosmith roars back with Permanent Vacation

First posted 4/1/2008; updated 9/8/2020.

Permanent Vacation


Buy Here:

Released: August 18, 1987

Peak: 11 US, 37 UK, 7 CN, 42 AU

Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, -- UK, 9.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Heart’s Done Time (Joe Perry, Desmond Child) [4:42]
  2. Magic Touch (Steven, Tyler, Perry, Jim Vallance) [4:37] (5/21/88, 42 AR)
  3. Rag Doll (Tyler, Perry, Vallance, Holly Knight) [4:25] (9/12/87, 17 US, 12 AR, 42 UK, 23 CN)
  4. Simoriah (Tyler, Perry, Vallance) [4:25]
  5. Dude Looks Like a Lady (Tyler, Perry, Child) [4:25] (8/29/87, 14 US, 4 AR, 20 UK, 22 CN, 95 AU)
  6. St. John (Tyler) [4:10]
  7. Hangman Jury (Tyler, Perry, Vallance) [5:33] (11/14/87, 14 AR)
  8. Girl Keeps Coming Apart (Tyler, Perry) [4:13]
  9. Angel (Tyler, Child) [5:08] (1/30/88, 3 US, 2 AR, 69 UK, 14 CN)
  10. Permanent Vacation (Tyler, Brad Whitford) [4:49]
  11. I’m Down (John Lennon, Paul, McCartney) [2:20]
  12. The Movie (instrumental) (Tyler, Perry, Whitford, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer) [4:00]

Total Running Time: 51:38

The Players:

  • Steven Tyler (vocals, keyboards, harmonica, percussion)
  • Joe Perry (guitar)
  • Brad Whitford (rhythm guitar)
  • Tom Hamilton (bass)
  • Joey Kramer (drums, percussion)


3.792 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)


About the Album:

Aerosmith looked like they might be finished as a band after 1979’s Night in the Ruts. Guitarist Joe Perry left the band during the making of the album, the band members were fighting, and substance abuse was taking its toll. Three years later, the band released Rock in a Hard Place but without Perry and Brad Whitford, who left during recording, the band wasn’t the same.

The original lineup returned for 1985’s Done with Mirrors, but the album was met with a tepid reception. Then rap group Run-D.M.C. came to the rescue. Their #4 remake of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” featured Tyler and Perry and brought the band back into the limelight. Suddenly, during the height of ‘80s hair bands, Permanent Vacation proved “the crucial catalyst in reintroducing Aerosmith to the masses.” AMG It was the group’s most successful album in a decade and found themselves at the top of the heap, reinvented “as ‘80s and ‘90s superstars.” AMG

Credit goes to John Kalodner, the A&R executive who pushed the band to work with “knob-twiddler extraordinaire Bruce Fairbairn and career-revitalizing song doctors Desmond Child and Jim Vallance.” AMG Fairbairn had previously produced three Loverboy albums and, most notably, Bon Jovi’ monstrous 1986 smash, Slippery When Wet. After Permanent Vacation, he also produced Aerosmith’s next two albums – which were even bigger successes.

Desmond Child had also worked on Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet, co-writing the #1 hits “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.” While “Child’s pedantic writing often compromises the timeliness of even the best material,” AMG Dude Looks Like a Lady, co-written with Tyler and Perry, proved a perfect song for the ‘80s. It offered a tongue-in-cheek nod to the contradictory nature of hair bands (a movement which Aerosmith was now part of) looking affeminate while promoting themselves as hyper-masculine. The band also managed to give the song enough pop sensibility to make it a hit without abandoning their rock cred.

Jim Vallance co-wrote all the songs on Bryan Adams’ 1984 smash album Reckless, which included the #1 “Heaven” and top-five hit “Summer of ’69.” He co-wrote Rag Doll with Holly Knight as well as Tyler and Perry. The song gave Aerosmith its second top-20 hit from the Permanent Vacation album.

After those two straightforward rock songs, the album’s third single “showcases the band at the peak of its power ballad cheese.” AMG “The crowd-pleasing schmaltz of AngelAMG ended up the band’s biggest hit to date, soaring all the way to #3 on the pop charts.

The album’s “pre-fab radio gems…remain largely unassailable from a ‘delivering the goods’ perspective” AMG and “the mostly stellar songwriting…makes it a strong effort overall.” AMG There are also “a guaranteed number of incredible tracks for any time and place. These include the earthy voodoo blues of St. John and the excellent hobo-harmonica fable of Hangman Jury.” AMG

Still, “some of the album’s nooks and crannies haven’t aged all that well because of Fairbairn's overwrought production, featuring an exaggerated sleekness typical of most mid-‘80s pop-metal albums.” AMG There are cuts that “lean to the filler side,” AMG but “the awkwardly Caribbean title track and the cover of the Beatles’ I’m Down are well executed.” AMG

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