Little pink candles, babe, for you and me
John Mellencamp turns 55 today. That's Johnny Cougar for those of us who enjoyed the EARLY part of the 80s. (After his hit 1982 album American Fool, he was able to reinstate his real last name on future bodies of work.)
I gotta admit I was never a huge fan of Cougar/Mellencamp, but he had the best MTV contest of the early years. Remember those? Back when MTV still needed to build an audience, the network was the undisputed king of beyond-belief contests. In once contest, the winners got to see Asia in concert in Japan ("Asia in Asia"). In other, The Cars did a show for you and your friends.
And my favorite: The winner got a pink house in Indiana and a private concert by Mellencamp. Rumor has it the original house MTV had bought for the contest was located on a toxic waste dump, and -- under orders from Mellencamp -- the network bought another house and quickly painted it pink. The contest winners lived in it for two days before selling it.
Stuck in the 80s co-host and Times pop critic Sean Daly has a great story about the rock icon. Back in 2004, when Daly was still working for the Washington Post, he interviewed Mellencamp in Bloomington, Ind., for a big piece in the newspaper. (Click here to read it.) Before making the long drive back to the airport, Daly needed to use the star's bathroom. An hour after saying goodbye, the sudden fear hit him: Did he forget to flush the toilet? He didn't have the nerve to find out. The mystery endures.
Happy birthday, Mr. Mellencamp from the Stuck in the 80s gang. Here's a top 5 list for you to help forget the whole toilet fiasco.
Top 5 favorite John Cougar Mellencamp songs:
5. I Need A Lover: "I'm not asking to be loved or be forgiven"
4. Jack and Diane: "Dribble off those bobby brooks. Let me do what I please"
3. Pink Houses: "The simple man, baby, pays for the thrills, the bills and the pills that kill"
2. Ain't Even Done With The Night: "I don't know no good come-ons. And I don't know no cool lines"
1. Small Town: "Another boring romantic that's me"