John Mellencamp – The Best That I Could Do 1978-1988

I don’t envy the person who was given the job of trying to compile a 1CD Greatest Hits disc of John Mellencamp’s career. In 1997. The Dude had been at it so long by then, and had so many awesome songs, I’m thinking a boxed set would have been the only reasonable response (short of telling people just to go buy the core albums).

Still, here is this compilation, and it’s a whopper. Walking into this, of course, you know pretty much what it’s gonna sound like – and that’s a good thing. The first two tracks were familiar to me, but they’re not the monster tracks that make up the meat of this disc. The last track was previously unreleased and (thanks, Wiki!) Graham Nash appears on the track, uncredited.

For the person who just wants a taste of Mellencamp’s prime years (ouch, has he ever left his prime? One might argue he hasn’t), this disc will give you all your radio favourites. But there were many other tunes that were left off. I’m sure you can name a bunch off the top of your head. Maybe should’ve at least made this a 2CD?

Anyway, here’s the track list, so you can be startled that you know more Mellencamp songs than you maybe thought you did:

I Need A Lover * Ain’t Even Done With The Night * Hurts So Good * Jack And Diane * Crumblin’ Down * Pink Houses * Authority Song * Lonely Ol’ Night * Small Town * R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A. * Paper In Fire * Cherry Bomb * Check It Out * Without Expression

See? This was a sweet listen. Go on and get you some.


Posted on March 23, 2014, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Funny but true story,went to see Kiss on there Dynasty tour in the year 1979 with Judas Priest opening,well Priest for some reason cancelled and a very young John Cougar opened the show and got royally booed through out his set.
    But 3 yrs later..Hurts So Good!!!
    For me I liked some of his stuff Uh Huh was a good record as was Scarecrow and Dance Naked but for me my money is on his 1991 release Whenever We Wanted.
    The dude just plugged in the guitars full and let it rip to this day it’s still my fav Mellancamp and it’s a great rock record 23 yrs (yikes) later.
    But I’m 3 years too early on this review (I’m talking about his 91 release and this is up,to 1988)hahaha…
    Good songs here and actually I should get this cuz these are the songs I only want to hear!
    Thanks man……
    Gonna get this!


    • Thanks Deke! Glad I could help you spend yer money! 🙂 Don’t spend too much, I got this one in our junk shop for $2… And yup, this has all the main tunes, though I still find it’s missing a ton. I’m thinking this is because he waited so long to put out a Hits set, so we all played the records so much that all the songs became ingrained whether they were Hits or not…

      Funny, I picked up Whenever We Wanted at the same time and fell in love all over again. I got another of his too, looks like I’m gonna be writing these up soon… Wahoo!


  2. Oh yeah and I’m known over at Mikes for ripping on artists who have multiple greatest hits sets so I give JC a pass cuz he did the right thing by calling it 1978-1988….
    But than again he could already have multiple greatest hits sets and well here we go again ….
    Ok gotta stop thinking about this……


    • I often wonder if it was his label wanting the Hits set, not him. He’s just got the one, and you’re right, there could be multiple sets. Hell, a box set would be killer. Makes me think ol’ Johnny Cougar would rather just make records and doesn’t wanna bilk the public… Tom Petty is another one that waited ages to put out a Hits set, I think.

      Oh, and Deke? NEVER stop thinking about this!! 🙂 Haha ALWAYS think about music! It’s why you’re one of the cool kids, like us!


  3. I think I had this one! Never really got into it in any meaningful way but I still like some of the tunes when I hear them. Love Paper In Fire especially.


    • ‘Had?’ Like, no longer own it? Too bad, if you’d known when you were ditching it, you could have sent yours to Deke. 😉

      Paper In Fire is a great tune. Lots of good stuff here, built for those who just wanted the monster tracks. He’s really due for a Volume 2, though. Lots of big stuff since 1997.


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