John (Cougar) Mellencamp
Writer(s): John Mellencamp (see lyrics here)
Released: December 1983
First Charted: October 29, 1983
Peak: 8 US, 12 CB, 8 GR, 9 RR, 3 AR, 15 CN, 69 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): --
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 27.5 video, 83.06 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
John Mellencamp “perfected his angry-young-populist-meets-the-Rolling-Stones sound and persona” DM with “Pink Houses.” He’d struggled to find his sound early in his career before going “back to his Midwestern roots for the American Fool album” TC in 1982. With the #2 hit “Hurts So Good” and the chart-topping “Jack and Diane,” Mellencamp suddenly achieved superstardom.
With the follow-up album, Uh-Huh, he chalked up another top-ten, platinum seller buoyed by a couple more top-ten-hits (“Crumblin’ Down” and “Pink Houses”). Mellencamp’s small-town Indiana heartland vibe was coming out even stronger. He “made it all right to be comfortable with middle-class America. He was not complacent, however.” TC
He managed to write “a letter-perfect description” DM of “a part of a country long infested by the Ku Klux Klan” DM where “blacks are unknown” DM and “unwelcome.” DM He explained how the song was inspired, saying “I…saw this old man early in the morning, sitting on the porch of his pink shack with a cat in his arms. He waved and I waved back.” TC
The result was a song about the American dream and how all Americans have a right to that dream. He took a “stand on behalf of the common man’s aspirations in the face of many obstacles” SS and made it perfectly respectable for the average American to simply dream of finding a place to settle down and call his own, “little pink houses for you and me.”
First posted 6/14/2023.