Win a Copy of "The John Mellencamp Vinyl Collection 1982-1989"

From 1982 to 1989, John Mellencamp released some of the finest, most popular work of his career, including hits like "Jack and Diane," "Hurts So Good," "Pink Houses," "Authority Song," "Paper in Fire," and the list goes on. Well before we called the stuff "Americana" -- and certainly well before Americana radio was even a thing -- Mellencamp was making rootsy rock and pop music via these chart-toppers. 

So, we're teaming up with the fine folks at Universal Music to give away this box set of five albums from that period of Mellencamp's career, on vinyl. 

To enter, simply comment on this thread telling us a story about a time you remember hearing one of Mellencamp's biggest hits, or share some of your favorite lyrics. We'll choose one lucky ND reader to get a copy of this collection in their mailbox. 

You have until midnight Pacific time on Thursday, June 16, to enter. Comments posted on social media don't count toward the contest. Anyone may enter but the prize can only be shipped to a US address. 

From the press release: 

Five John Mellencamp albums have been scheduled for reissue on 180-gram vinyl LPs on June 10 by Mercury/UMe. New lacquers for American Fool, Uh-Huh, Scarecrow, The Lonesome Jubilee, and Big Daddy were cut from their original analog master tapes by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering, with the vinyl LPs manufactured by Record Industry. The albums are available now for preorder, individually and gathered in a limited edition 5-LP vinyl box set, The Vinyl Collection 1982-1989.

John Mellencamp's career in music, spanning more than 35 years, has seen him transition from pop star to one of the most highly regarded songwriters of a generation. The Voice of the Heartland continued to evolve artistically with Plain Spoken, John's 22nd full-length album. Mellencamp is incredibly acclaimed. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Grammy winner, a recipient of the John Steinbeck Award, ASCAP Foundation's Champion Award, the Woody Guthrie Award, and Americana Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also one of the most successful live concert performers in the world. Recently, at the 33rd annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards in Los Angeles, Mellencamp added another prize to his collection: the Founders Award, the top honor assigned by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. The social activism reflected in his songs helped catalyze Farm Aid, the concert series and organization that has addressed the struggle of American family farmers for more than 25 years.

"Hold on to sixteen as long as you can"
"Uh Huh" was a staple of my college days! "...forget all that macho shit and learn how to play guitar...PLAY Guitar..."! Still in rotation to this day!

Got nothing against a big town
Still hayseed enough to say
Look who's in the big town
But my bed is in a small town
Oh, and that's good enough for me

Jack & Diane - When I first heard it, I thought it was the best told story, could have been a movie it was so vivid a story. Could not wait to see Mellencamp live to experience this new sound of rootsy Rock &Roll and I have since seen him at least 10 times throughout the years and have never been disappointed. One of the best front men around, could dance with the best of them. His catalog of songs is ICONIC ! Would love to add this set to my collection.


Never stopped listening to John. Loved the story he told of the true meaning of Jack &Diane. I now like the song more than ever. John's last 3 albums are stellar and never received the play they should have.       Growing old with John is one of the best things about growing old 



Jack and Diane was one of the naughty songs I could get away with playing on the record player at home. 


I was luck enough to see John Cougar in the 80's (before the return to Mellencamp) when Kenny was still his drummer. Much later these lyrics struck a chord - no pun intended.

"Seventeen has turned thirty-five
I'm surprised that we're still livin'
If we've done any wrong
I hope that we're forgiven"

I always liked China Girl, co-written by my friend Joe New

Stolen flowers, are the sweetest in the mornin'
The eastern sun is dawnin', your silk's against my skin
China girl, take me to your jasmine place
Cool me with your subtle grace, to know me is no sin



One of my absolute favorites and words to live by. A somewhat obscure song from John Mellencamp (1998, self titled).

See the moon roll across the stars

See the seasons turn like a heart

Your father's days are lost to you

This is your time here to do what you will do

Your life is now Your life is now Your life is now

In this undiscovered moment

Lift your head up above the cloud

We could shake this world

If you would only show us how

Your life is now


"When I was a young boy, said put away those young boy ways. Now that I'm gettin' older, so much older, I long for those young boy days."

Back in the "camping out for ticket days" of the mid 1980s, my friend and I got in line after the evening shift as then, relatively new nurses.  We took clothes to change into but failed to check the weather.  The temperature dropped about 30 degrees that night between midnight and dawn and everyone was freezing.  Someone had a big "boom box" which was typical of the era so the crowd danced to stay warm.  Eventually the words to the chorus of Jack and Diane were temporarily changed to Oh yeah, Life goes on, Long after the Feeling in your Feet is Gone! We did end up with great seats and suffered no long term damage for our efforts. John's music has been the soundtrack of my life and I would love to have this collection!

If it wasn't for John Mellencamp I wouldn't be here or writing Adobe & Teardrops.

Most of you here are probably too old to have seen Pete and Pete on Nickelodeon (no offense.) There's this one episode where Little Pete hears a song on the radio (played by Mark Mulcahy's band Polaris.) Little Pete's brain lights up. He listens to the radio obsessively, trying to find this song again. His entire life revolves around those few bars of music. As Big Pete, our narrator explains, Little Pete had discovered his first favorite song.

"Jack and Diane" was that song for me. I was in first grade. My parents had given me a walkman for Hanukkah. I tuned it to the local rock station because that's obviously what cool kids listened to. (The cool kids in my class were listening to their older siblings' New Kids on the Block cassettes. I didn't realize it at the time but my concept of music was literally being shaped by Nirvana, Guns n Roses, and Metallica.) That's the music I would fall asleep to. Suddenly the station switched formats to classic rock. At first I was upset -- this stuff just wasn't as good.

But late one night, this bold chord rang through my headphones. It was "Jack and Diane." I was transfixed and would spend the next year waiting for that serendipitous moment where it would come on the radio AND the DJ would announce its title and artist. In the mean time, I built up a healthy appreciation for Southern rock (my parents listened to the Beatles and classical music) and the top 40s of yesteryear.

How a Jewish American Princess from New York City got into blue collar country punk is a different story, but its roots lie in the main who made that sound mainstream: John Mellencamp.

I met John Mellencamp backstage at a concert in the 80's in Dallas.  Wow what a thrill.  It was a dynamic performance!  I remember when Scarecrow came out.  It is still one of my favorite recordings.  "Rain on The Scarecrow"  is my favorite cut!

Rick Fulton LPC

My co-worker and mentor, Clayton Davis, brought the "Human Wheels" CD into the office to help us make it through working all-nighters in December of 1993, cranking out drafts of a big client proposal.  He hadn't heard it yet prior to that first night he brought it, and he said so to me, I think to soften the blow in case we thought it sucked. On the contrary, its quality was compelling and it's stuck with me as a favorite ever since. I've seen Mellencamp quoted as liking it a lot, too. Clayton's passed on but I still listen to "Human Wheels" pretty regularly, with Clayton and his friendship on my mind.

There's a place in south-central Wyoming where Mellencamp lives in the album Scarecrow. I found it in the summer of 1985 where the sage breaks to the high country. And, the wind blows relentlessly except on the hot nights when it lingers like a blanket you can't toss off. 

It was the summer I found Mellencamp's voice. Through Scarecrow, he was no longer just a folk singer, a pop artist, a troubadour capturing Americana in daily life. He caught the fence wire betwinst urban and rural, between cultures of sound and, really, made one of the first multi-cultural influenced albums of its decade. Before Paul Simon sang about diamonds.

I ran through the mountains of Wyoming that summer and many after listening to Mellencamp. As a wilderness caretaker on the Continental Divide, I pulled music onto my plastic box of a tape player, draped headphones over my sweat-soaked bandana and ran through the hills chasing light with his lyrics.

He was perfect. 

Day after day, I was mesmerized by Mellencamp's ability to see the simple and make it sublime. I was alone in a western land that ate me up. Dry. Parched. Ears ringing in silence of the wind. But, when I heard his jangly guitar, voice like caramel biting off thoughts, I was right there traveling the plains of a country he saw. Small towns. A-glance smiles from strangers. Mellencamp gave me a shared template of the land and its people.

One he would perfect in The Lonesome Jubilee, Big Daddy, and, especially, Whenever We Wanted. Albums that just flat out rocked like a wind storm blowing through Wyoming’s high country. Carrying all of us ranchers, cattlemen, city folk, dreamers and drillers along with him.

John has left us with so many memorable songs. His Midwest values and experiences are so well crafted into his music. God bless him.

Growing up in Southern Indiana, my sisters and I heard plenty of Mellencamp and loved his music.  One of the best concerts I ever saw was John on his "Lonesome Jubilee" tour at the late, lamented Roberts Stadium in Evanville.  His band was as great as Seger's Silver Bullet or Springsteen's E-Street bands and Mellencamp was writing so many classics.  My favoriet in that time period remains "Paper in Fire" - his warning to the rampant consumerism and greed that was happening in the mid 80s.

There is a good life
Right across the green field
And each generation
Stares at it from afar
But we keep no check
On our appetites
So the green fields turn to brown
Like paper in fire

I have many memories of John's music from early on. But coming from a small town in the heart of a farming community,  Scarecrow hit especially close to home for me.  It also came along at a personal turning point.  There are many lines that  come to mind from different songs that stay with me always as well.....
"you gotta stand for something, or you're gonna fall for anything"
"my family and friends are the best things I know"

"It's a lonely ole night, but ain't they all"

There are just too many.  

I spent a month one week in Guymon, OK and caught a video on HBO one night for a song called "I Need A Lover" by some new kid named John Cougar.  By the end of the song I was hooked for life.  Stopped by a record store on the way home and bought the LP.   Scarecrow is a landmark LP in John's career from my perspective.  For a person working/living in the ag world, his lyrics rang loud and true.  Thanks for everything you've done for us, John.

Lonlely Old Nights came out when I was dating my husband......it kinda said everything for us.  It's always been "our" song. 

In the 1980s, Springsteen, Seger and Jackson Browne were the holy trinity of Amerian rock, occasionally letting Tom Petty join them.  Critics, however, were always cool to Mellencamp.  Jack and Diane may blasted out of every radio in Ocean City, Maryland during the summer of 1982, and Mellencamp may have churned out a bunch of hits after that, including Pink Houses, which was almost as impossibly catchy.  Still, Mellencamp lacked rock critic cred.  If heartland rock was that "eight room farm house" that Mellencamp sang of in Cherry Bomb, then Mellencamp was the younger brother that no one paid attention to. 

Scarecrow, of course, changed all that – and deservedly so.  The title song hit as hard as Springsteen and Seger's best, and I always thought that Check It Out on the The Lonesome Jubilee follow-up was every bit as good, even if that later album lacked the same commercial firepower.

Perhaps consistent with the song itself, however, I'm going to nominate the underdog Minutes to Memories, which is from Scarecrow, but wasn't a hit.  I looked through the lyrics to try to find a favorite line, but honestly, I think it's picture perfect from beginning to end.  (Not to mention, the amazing drumming that introduces the "Another hot one out of highway eleven" verse and changes the whole feel of the song.)    

"On a Greyhound thirty miles beyond Jamestown

He saw the sun set on the Tennessee line

He looked at the young man who was riding beside him

He said I'm old kind of worn out inside

I worked my whole life in the steel mills of Gary

And with my father before me I helped build this land

Now I'm seventy-seven and with God as my witness

I earned every dollar that passed through my hands

My family and friends are the best thing I've known

Through the eye of the needle I'll carry them home


"Days turn to minutes

And minutes to memories

Life sweeps away the dreams

That we have planned

You are young and you are the future

So suck it up and tough it out

And be the best you can


"The rain hit the old dog in the twilight's last gleaming

He said Son it sounds like rattling old bones

This highway is long but I know some that are longer

By sunup tomorrow I guess I'll be home

Through the hills of Kentucky 'cross the Ohio river

The old man kept talking 'bout his life and his times

He fell asleep with his head against the window

He said an honest man's pillow is his peace of mind

This world offers riches and riches will grow wings

I don't take stock in those uncertain things


"Days turn to minutes

And minutes to memories

Life sweeps away the dreams

That we have planned

You are young and you are the future

So suck it up and tough it out

And be the best you can


"The old man had a vision but it was hard for me to follow

I do things my way and I pay a high price

When I think back on the old man and the bus ride

Now that I'm older I can see he was right


"Another hot one out on highway eleven

This is my life it's what I've chosen to do

There are no free rides. No one said it'd be easy

The old man told me this my son I'm telling it to you


"Days turn to minutes

And minutes to memories

Life sweeps away the dreams

That we have planned

You are young and you are the future

So suck it up and tough it out

And be the best you can."


Close second place to that other underdog: Jackie Brown.


Dream of vacationing on a mountain stream, And giving the world more than it gave to you.  What ugly truths freedom brings and it hasn't been very kind to you.  Is this your life, Jackie Brown?



Minutes to Memories. 

Someone has already spoken this and I very much agree. No doubt the song that has never left me. Full of sayings that sunk deep into my soul many years ago, and still do today. It is hard to pick just one part. But today I will go with,

"My family and friends are the best thing I've known

Through the eye of the needle I'll carry them home."

Ask me tomorrow and it would probably be a different line. Very powerful song!!!


Uh Huh was my fav, and from that, "Authority Song." It speaks so much truth. I plan on blaring that one loudly in 10 years when I retire. "Authority always wins. I've been doing it since I was a young kid and I come out grinning. I fight authority, authority always wins." It's about sticking it to the man. Love it!

Huge fan from Brasil, stayed in Chicago working during July 1993. Lucky to get tickets for the Flood Relief Concerts at World Music Theater. I write about a song John almost did not sing -Jack and Diane, because there were 35 thousand people not letting him by singing along. Beautiful!! I've been to a little over 200 concerts (many artists), but this moment was in theTop 5, AMAZING!

I was 12 years old when my brother yelled for me to come in his bedroom and listen to this song. That song was Hurts so Good and my brother was dancing around to it and I was laughing at him. A couple of weeks later John was on Solid Gold and my step sister yelled to me that John Cougar is on TV! So I ran in there and watched him dance all over the stage and flash those blue eyes and it was over! Of course that's not the reason I've now been a fan for 34 years! The reason for that is that he continues to put out music that speaks to me and is a part of my life. I couldn't imagine my life without his music!

I have a very fond memory 8 years ago of John Mellencamp. I was only 8 years old and I went camping with my family at some campground. I clearly remember this one moment where I was walking down a dirt road with my mom, and there was somebody's tent nearby. Someone was sitting outside on a chair with a boombox next to them playing a song. As I was walking by, I asked, "Mom, who was that singing?" 
She paused for a moment, looking down at me in deep thought. She was trying to remember. At last, she said, "Oh, John Cougar Mellencamp!" with a nostalgic grin on her face. "I remember he was a very big hit when I was growing up. I used to have his posters all over my bedroom walls."

Fast forward 8 years to today, and here I am about to celebrate my 17th birthday and trying to win this Mellencamp vinyl collection. I never thought that I would've seen him in concert twice already, let alone even like his music at all! I almost feel it is a duty of mine to carry on my mother's generation of music for the future generations, just like she did to me. To this day John Mellencamp remains my favorite songwriter and musician of all time, and I'll never forget the day I  went "CAMP"ing and discovered John Mellen"CAMP". It's a very warm and special memory to me.

And that song, by the way, that struck me so fondly when I was 8 years old at the campground was of course, the legendary "Jack and Diane".

a funny story.....
2015 Plain Spoken Tour,   my husband and I were at the Apollo Theater to see John.  We were second row center.  In front of us two sets of girls that didn't know each other.  Right at the beginning of Authority Song, another girl (very drunk) slithers around behind them elbowing them along the way.  By the time they looked around to see who had done it, all they saw were each other and began to brawl.  Right in the middle of Authority Song.  Funny enough, the gentleman to my right just happened to be John's body guard for a few shows (and was trying to have a night off) and ended up having to break them up.  I'll never be able to hear that song without thinking of that!  

Let me take you back to 1996 in Southern California.  I was fifteen years old and obsessed with MTV and VH1.  The song "I Saw You First" played incessantly on VH1.  Something about the words, the beat, and JOHN himself got me hooked.  I recorded all his interviews and live concerts on TV and watched them every DAY (and forced my younger brother too!).  Now this was a time when hip-hop and gangster music was BIG (which I also liked), but nobody understood why I liked this "country singer."  My obsession continued and I bought all of his CDs and video "Ain't That America".  The internet was becoming popular and I even created an email account...THIS email account that is now 20 years old...with the username monicajohn.  I could relate to John's music, even at such a young age...it seemed to have a common theme of time passing and life's struggles.  I felt like he was talking to me through his lyrics "Hold on to 16 as long as you can" and "17 has turned 35".  I got my family hooked on his music and they bought me my first concert ticket in the pit when I was 17.  I have attended all of John's concerts ever since and am just as passionate, except 17 has turned 35!


  I've been listening to John's music since I was a young teenager. Now I'am 55 yrs. old. Every road I've traveled the music has always been there. To pick you up , when your struggling, to fill your Heart with Humanity and Love. The lyrics take you places you want to be. The Bands talents fills your soul with delightful sounds. From Taxi Dancer to Paper in Fire and Between a Laugh and a Tear. the music is all inspiring. Thanks John Mellencamp for penning down the stories of our lives.