Despite its huge success, John Mellencamp has revealed he ‘always detested’ his hit little ditty, Jack & Diane.
Mellencamp made the admission during a recent chat with Forbes.
“I always detested that song until the last couple, three years,” he said, adding that he’s shocked that the song still resonates with fans 40 years after it was released.
“I watched a football game this past weekend, and 80,000 people were singing that song at half time. Can you imagine? I thought, ‘S**t.’ I said, ‘How do all these f**king people know this song?’”
Mellencamp has previously sidestepped questions about the track, which spent four weeks at No. 1 on the US charts (and No. 7 in Australia) in 1982, often just saying it was notoriously difficult to record.
“When I play it on guitar by myself, it sounds great; but I could never get the band to play along with me. That’s why the arrangement’s so weird. Stopping and starting, it’s not very musical,” he previously said.
The clapping was used only to help keep time and was supposed to be removed in the final mix. However, he chose to leave the clapping in once he realised that the song would not work without it.
Mellencamp credits producer and guitarist Mick Ronson for the song’s more memorable parts.
“[Ronson] put the percussion on there and then he sang the part ‘let it rock, let it roll’ as a choir-ish-type thing, which had never occurred to me. And that is the part everybody remembers on the song. It was Ronson’s idea.”
In the Forbes interview, Mellencamp was also asked about his music’s place in popular culture, to which he admitted he was deliberately unaware.
“I’m not really part of the club. I live a very solitude life,” he explained.
“I’m alone a lot, whenever I can be. I’m alone on top of this mountain. So, I don’t really pay attention to popular culture. Like I was talking to [Bruce] Springsteen, and he asked me if I watched the Grammys. I said, ‘No, I didn’t even know they were happening.’ He goes, ‘Well, we got nothing to do with it.’ [chuckle] I said, ‘Well, I figured that out.’ We got nothing to do with that. It means nothing to me at this point in my life.”
Mellencamp’s new album, Strictly A One-Eyed Jack, arrives this week on January 21.
Springsteen guests on three of the LP’s tracks.