Friday, October 29, 2004

100 years ago: The Haydn Quartet hit #1 with "Sweet Adeline"

Sweet Adeline (You’re the Flower of My Heart)

Haydn Quartet

Writer(s): Richard H. Gerard/Harry Armstrong (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 15, 1904

Peak: 110 US, 2 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.1 video, -- streaming

Sweet Adeline (You’re the Flower of My Heart)

Peerless Quartet (as Columbia Male Quartet)

First Charted: November 19, 1904

Peak: 13 US, 2 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, -- video, -- streaming

Awards (Haydn Quartet):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Peerless Quartet):

About the Song:

As “the signature barbershop song,” DS “Sweet Adeline” may represent the sound of the first decade of the 20th century, WHC maybe even the first two decades, DS more than any other song. WHC The term wasn’t used until the 1920s, LW but the format of four-part male harmony with little or no musical accompaniment was introduced in the late 19th century. LW

The song began life in 1896 WK as an instrumental called “Down Home in New England.” The composer, Henry W. Armstrong, was a barbershop quartet enthusiast and tapped Richard Gerard to add lyrics, resulting in “You’re the Flower of My Heart Sweet, Rosalie.” RCG When they couldn’t find a publisher, they changed the title to “Sweet Adeline,” reportedley inspired by the “legendarily beautiful” LW opera singer Adelina Patti, although prima donna Adeline Gerard has also been cited as an inspiration. RCG Gerad later said the song was inspired by a girl who worked at the music counter at a department store in New York. TY2

The Quaker City Four introduced the song in vaudeville DJ in 1903 at the Hammerstein’s Victoria Theater in New York City. TY2 It was common for barbershop songs of the day to drift into “minstrel or vaudeville shtick,” DS but the Haydn Quartet, who scored their sixth #1 with “Sweet Adeline,” generally stuck to more straightforward harmony. DS The song was the biggest hit of 1904. WHC The Columbia Quartet and the duo of Albert Campbell & James F. Harrison also charted with versions that year, taking the song to #1 and #2 respectively. The Mills Brothers had a top 10 with it in 1939. The song also became identified with Boston Mayor John F. “Honey” Fitzgerald PM who used it as his campaign song in 1906.

“Sweet Adeline” established the foundation for vocal groups for decades to come. The Everly Brothers; The Beach Boys; Crosby, Stills & Nash; and even The Beatles’ penchant for “tight harmony singing” can all be traced back to the barbershop movement. LW


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First posted 4/12/2020; last updated 12/14/2022.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

John Mellencamp, A Retrospective: 1978-2004

John Mellencamp

A Retrospective: 1978-2004


Born in Seymour, Indiana, on October 7, 1951, John Mellencamp became one of the most important figures in heartland rock, a subset of classic rock which embraced Midwestern values. He first recorded under the name Johnny Cougar and later as John Cougar and eventually under his given name. He first found success with “I Need a Lover” in 1978 and had his major commercial breakthrough with 1982’s chart-topping American Fool and hit singles “Hurts So Good” and “Jack and Diane.”

From 1982 to 1987, Mellencamp recorded four multi-platinum, top-10 albums, each yielding at least two top-10 hits, including “Pink Houses,” “Small Town,” and “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” After 1987, he only reached the top-ten one more time with a cover of Van Morrison’s “Wild Night” in 1994 but he still often turned out albums which reached the top ten and/or went platinum.




Under each album snapshot, songs featured on the anthologies are noted. If the song charted, the date of the song’s release or first chart appearance and its chart peaks are noted in parentheses. Click for codes to charts.

Chestnut Street Incident (1976):

  • American Dream (9/76, --)
  • Chestnut Street (1976, --)

The Kid Inside (1977):

  • no singles

A Biography (1978):

  • I Need a Lover (9/15/79, 28 US, 32 CB, 27 GR, 35 HR, 5 AU, 2 DF) BD, WM
  • Taxi Dancer (1978, --)
  • Factory (1978, --)
  • Night Slumming (1978, --)

About the Album:

This was the third album recorded by John Mellencamp, then known as Johnny Cougar. It didn’t get released in the U.S. because of poor sales of his 1976 debut, Chestnut Street Incident. His second album, The Kid Inside, was recorded in 1977, but wasn’t released until after the success of 1982’s American Fool. The song “I Need a Lover” became a top-ten hit in Australia and was included on his next American album, John Cougar.

John Cougar (1979):

  • I Need a Lover (9/15/79, 28 US, 32 CB, 27 GR, 35 HR, 5 AU, 2 DF) BD, WM
  • Miami (1979, 31 AU)
  • Small Paradise (1/26/80, 87 US, 93 CB, 76 HR, 43 CL)
  • A Little Night Dancin’ (4/19/80, 49 CL)

About the Album:

This was Mellencamp’s first album with Riva Records and his first to be released under the name John Cougar. The album included “I Need a Lover” and a re-worked version of “Taxi Dancer,” both songs initially featured on A Biography, which wasn’t released in the U.S. The single “Miami” hit #31 in Australia and “Small Paradise” hit #87 in the U.S., but neither song was featured on The Best That I Can Do.

Nothin’ Matters and What if It Did (1980):

  • This Time (9/20/80, 27 US, 28 CB, 27 GR, 36 HR, 15 CL, 43 AU, 17 DF) WM
  • Ain’t Even Done with the Night (1/31/81, 17 US, 15 CB, 15 GR, 22 HR, 16 RR, 4 CL, 44 AR, 15 CN, 9 DF) BD, WM
  • Hot Night in a Cold Town (1981, --)

About the Album:

Mellencamp (still going by the name John Cougar at the time) followed up the success of “I Need a Lover” with two more top-40 hits from this album. “This Time” hit #27 and “Ain’t Even Done with the Night,” featured on The Best That I Can Do, became Mellencamp’s first top-20 hit.

American Fool (1982):

  • Hurts So Good (4/24/82, 2 US, 11 CB, 2 GR, 3 RR, 11 AR, 3 CN, 5 AU, 5 DF, sales: ½ million) BD, WM
  • Jack and Diane (6/26/82, 14 US, 13 CB, 15 GR, 13 RR, 3 AR, 25 UK, 12 CN, 7 AU, 1 DF, sales: ½ million) BD, WM
  • Thundering Hearts (9/25/82, 36 AR, 37 DF)
  • Hand to Hold Onto (11/5/82, 19 US, 22 CB, 15 GR, 13 RR, 89 UK, 41 CN, 97 AU, 14 DF) WM

About the Album:

John Cougar hit the big time with American Fool, which hit the top of the Billboard album chart in the U.S. and gave him two top-10 hits as well as a top-20 hit with “Hand to Hold Onto,” the latter of which isn’t on The Best That I Could Do.

Read more on the DMDB page for this album.

Uh-Huh (1983):

  • Crumblin’ Down (10/7/83, 9 US, 8 CB, 8 GR, 6 RR, 2 AR, 9 CN, 42 AU, 5 DF) BD, WM
  • Pink Houses (10/29/83, 8 US, 12 CB, 8 GR, 9 RR, 3 AR, 15 CN, 69 AU, 1 DF) BD, WM
  • Serious Business (1/28/84, 34 AR, 9 DF)
  • Play Guitar (2/4/84, 15 AR, 3 DF)
  • Authority Song (2/18/84, 15 US, 12 CB, 14 GR, 12 RR, 15 AR, 41 CN, 93 AU, 3 DF) BD, WM

About the Album:

After the success of American Fool, Mellencamp came right back the next year with another multi-platinum, top-10 album featuring two more top-10 hits and another top-20 hit.

Read more on the DMDB page for this album.

Scarecrow (1985):

  • Lonely Ol’ Night [3:45] (8/16/85, 6 US, 10 CB, 3 GR, 4 RR, 37 AC, 15 AR, 7 CN, 32 AU, 2 DF) BD, WM
  • Small Town [3:41] (9/14/85, 6 US, 6 CB, 4 GR, 4 RR, 13 AC, 2 AR, 53 UK, 13 CN, 80 AU, 1 DF) BD, WM
  • R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. [2:54] (9/14/85, 2 US, 4 CB, 3 GR, 2 RR, 36 AC, 6 AR, 67 UK, 7 CN, 18 AU, 9 DF) BD, WM
  • Rain on the Scarecrow (9/21/85, 21 US, 28 CB, 19 GR, 26 RR, 16 AR, 34 AU, 3 DF) WM
  • Justice and Independence ‘85 (11/30/85, 28 AR, 8 DF)
  • Minutes to Memories (1/18/86, 14 AR, 25 DF)
  • Rumbleseat (6/28/86, 28 US, 32 CB, 29 GR, 33 RR, 4 AR, 84 AU, 23 DF) WM

About the Album:

While it didn’t top the album chart (it peaked at #2), Scarecrow matched the five-million mark in sales he’d previously reached with American Fool. With three top-10 hits, this was his most successful album in terms of singles.

Read more on the DMDB page for this album.

The Lonesome Jubilee (1987):

  • Paper in Fire [3:53] (8/14/87, 9 US, 10 CB, 5 GR, 9 RR, 15 AR, 86 UK, 3 CN, 13 AU, 3 DF) BD, WM
  • Cherry Bomb [4:49] (9/5/87, 8 US, 18 CB, 7 GR, 13 RR, 12 AC, 11 AR, 5 CN, 20 AU, 9 DF) BD, WM
  • Hard Times for an Honest Man (9/5/87, 10 AR, 11 DF)
  • The Real Life (9/12/87, 3 AR, 8 DF)
  • Check It Out [4:20] (2/6/88, 14 US, 3 AR, 96 UK, 10 CN, 22 AU, 9 DF) BD, WM
  • Rooty Toot Toot (5/7/88, 61 US, 7 AR, 19 CN, 54 AU, 23 DF)

About the Album:

For the fourth time, Mellencamp delivered a top-10, multi-platinum album with at least two top-10 hits.

Read more on the DMDB page for this album.

The Best That I Could Do

John Mellencamp

Released: November 18, 1997

Recorded: 1978-1988 + 1 new song

Peak: 33 US, 25 UK, 9 CN, 5 AU, 12 DF

Sales (in millions): 3.25 US

Genre: classic heartland rock


4.343 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

Tracks: (1) I Need a Lover (2) Ain’t Even Done with the Night (3) Hurts So Good (4) Jack and Diane (5) Crumblin’ Down (6) Pink Houses (7) Authority Song (8) Lonely Ol’ Night (9) Small Town (10) R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. (11) Paper in Fire (12) Cherry Bomb (13) Check It Out (14) Without Expression

Total Running Time: 58:51

Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • Without Expression (11/29/97, 40 GR, 25 AR, 14 CN) BD

About the Album:

After 1996’s Mr. Happy Go Lucky, John Mellencamp left Mercury Records for Columbia. Naturally Mercury wanted to capitalize on the singer’s years with them and released a compilation. However, the set inexplicably opted to ignore the 1989-1996 years. The fact that they opted to have the set stop after 1987’s The Lonesome Jubilee makes some sense in that it marked the end of his multi-platinum days, but considering that all his 1989-1996 studio albums reached platinum status and produced a fair amont of hits as well, it seemed obvious that there should be a second volume.

Still, there’s no arguing with what’s here. There are nine top-10 hits, including his #1 hit Jack and Diane from 1982. Even then, though, with a running time just shy of an hour, there’s room for four or five more cuts and stay under the CD cap length. The most notable absences include “This Time,” “Hand to Hold Onto,” “Rain on the Scarecrow,” and “Rumbleseat,” all top-40 hits in the U.S. They would, however, be included on the 2004 set Words & Music.

The set also includes one new song, Mellencamp’s recording of the Terry Reid song “Without Expression.” It makes for an odd edition as it was recorded a decade after everything else on the compilation. An archival recording, B-side, live cut, or alternate version of a song would have made more sense.

Note: The Japanese edition of the album included “Miami” and “Under the Boardwalk.”

Big Daddy (1989):

  • Pop Singer (4/28/89, 15 US, 11 CB, 12 GR, 20 RR, 2 AR, 11 CN, 3 DF) WM
  • Martha Say (5/20/89, 8 AR, 20 DF) WM
  • Let It All Hang Out (6/3/89, 42 AR, 17 DF)
  • Jackie Brown (7/8/89, 48 US, 45 CB, 31 AC, 82 CW, 20 AR, 2 DF) WM

About the Album:

After four multi-platinum albums which featured at least two top-ten hits each, Big Daddy marked a slight commercial decline. The album still sold a million copies but didn’t feature any top-ten hits. In fact, “Pop Singer” (an ironic commentary on not wanting to be commercial) was the only song to reach the Top 40, peaking at #15.

Read more on the DMDB page for this album.

Whenever We Wanted (1991):

  • Get a Leg Up (10/4/91, 14 US, 13 CB, 12 GR, 19 RR, 13 AR, 14 DF) WM
  • Love and Happiness (11/2/91, 5 AR, 20 DF) WM
  • Again Tonight (1/24/92, 36 US, 13 CB, 16 GR, 18 RR, 46 AC, 12 AR, 10 DF) WM
  • Now More Than Ever (4/4/92, 31 GR, 3 AR, 24 DF) WM
  • Last Chance (7/4/92, 12 AR, 17 DF)

About the Album:

After five consecutive top-ten albums, Whenever We Wanted was Mellencamp’s first effort to miss the top 10 (it peaked at #17) since 1980’s Nothin’ Matters and What if It Did. It did, however, produce two top-40 hits.

Read more on the DMDB page for this album.

Human Wheels (1993):

  • What if I Came Knocking (7/24/93, 12 AR, 10 DF) WM
  • Human Wheels (9/3/93, 48 US, 40 CB, 12 GR, 19 RR, 40 AC, 3 DF) WM
  • When Jesus Left Birmingham (12/18/93, 35 AR, 8 DF) WM
  • Junior (2/5/94, 35 AR, 16 DF)

About the Album:

Mellencamp found himself back in the top-ten with Human Wheels, his ninth consecutive platinum album, although it was his first album since 1977’s The Kid Inside to fail to generate a top-40 hit.

Read more on the DMDB page for this album.

Dance Naked (1994):

  • Wild Night (with Me’shell Ndegeocello) (5/21/94, 3 US, 4 CB, 2 GR, 3 RR, 18 AC, 17 AR, 34 UK, 13, 3 DF) WM
  • Dance Naked (10/15/94, 41 US, 25 CB, 7 GR, 18 RR, 37 AC, 21 AR, 5 DF) WM

About the Album:

Mellencamp’s tenth consecutive platinum album featured his first chart entry of a cover. His take on “Wild Night,” originally by Van Morrison, put him back in the top-ten for the first time since 1987’s “Cherry Bomb.” In fact, from a chart standpoint it was his fourth biggest hit after “Jack and Diane” (#1), “Hurts So Good” (#2), and “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” (#2).

Read more on the DMDB page for this album.

Mr. Happy Go Lucky (1996):

  • Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First) (8/9/96, 14 US, 13 CB, 5 GR, 9 RR, 15 AC, 4 A40, 16 AA, 10 AR, 15 CN, 10 DF) WM
  • Just Another Day (11/2/96, 46 US, 15 GR, 23 RR, 24 AC, 13 A40, 2 AA, 13 AR, 12 CN, 20 DF) WM

About the Album:

Mellencamp’s fourteenth studio album was his tenth and final studio album to reach platinum status. It was his seventh album to reach the top 10, fueled by the top-20 hit “Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First).”

Read more on the DMDB page for this album.

John Mellencamp (1998):

  • Your Life Is Now (9/11/98, 62 US, 23 GR, 32 RR, 19 AC, 23 A40, 5 AA, 15 AR, 16 DF) WM
  • I’m Not Running Anymore (2/6/99, 22 AC, 22 A40, 11 AA, 37 AR, 16 DF) WM

About the Album:

Neither of the two singles from John Mellencamp’s self-titled debut with Columbia Records managed their way into the Billboard Top 40 and the album missed top-ten and platinum status.

Read more on the DMDB page for this album.

Cuttin’ Heads (2001):

  • Peaceful World (with India.Arie) (9/8/01, 27 AC, 11 A40, 15 AA, 38 AR, 9 DF) WM

About the Album:

For Mellencamp’s second studio album with Columbia, it was becoming clear that his top-40 heyday years were behind him. However, he now found a home at adult-oriented radio stations, going all the way to #1 on the adult alternative chart with “Peaceful World.”

Read more on the DMDB page for this album.

Trouble No More (2003):

  • To Washington (2003, --)
  • Teardrops Will Fall (2003, --) WM

About the Album:

Mellencamp’s early albums had mixed originals alongside covers, but this was his first foray into an album of all covers of blues and folk songs. Most notable were his covers of Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway” and a reworking of the traditional “To Washington” with lyrics critical of President George W. Bush.

Read more on the DMDB page for this album.

Words & Music: Greatest Hits

John Mellencamp

Released: October 19, 2004

Recorded: 1978-2004

Peak: 13 US, 93 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Genre: classic heartland rock


4.236 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)

Tracks, Disc 1: (1) Walk Tall (2) Pink Houses (3) Lonely Ol’ Night (4) Jackie Brown (5) Rain on the Scarecrow (6) Love and Happiness (7) Check It Out (8) Peaceful World (9) Paper in Fire (10) Your Life Is Now (11) Human Wheels (12) When Jesus Left Birmingham (13) Authority Song (14) What if I Came Knocking (15) Crumblin’ Down (16) Small Town (17) R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. (18) Cherry Bomb (19) Pop Singer

Tracks, Disc 2: (1) Thank You (2) Martha Say (3) Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First) (4) Hand to Hold Onto (5) I Need a Lover (6) Hurts So Good (7) Get a Leg Up (8) Wild Night (9) Dance Naked (10) Teardrops Will Fall (11) Ain’t Even Done with the Night (12) Just Another Day (13) Jack and Diane (14) Rumbleseat (15) I’m Not Running Anymore (16) Again Tonight (17) This Time (18) Now More Than Ever

Total Running Time: 147:41

Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • Walk Tall (8/29/04, 25 AC, 26 A40, 3 AA, 16 DF) WM
  • Thank You WM

About the Album:

Mellencamp’s first compilation did an excellent job gathering the most notable songs from the first decade of his career. This collection upped the ante with a two-disc collection that covered those years plus selections from eight more studio albums. A companion to The Best That I Could Do which focused just on his material from 1989 would have been more welcome, but this does offer a one-stop shop for anyone who skipped the first set. Sadly, the material is not organized chronologically, which is nearly always the preferable way to go with anthologies.

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First posted 9/17/2020; last updated 10/7/2023.