Monday, February 24, 2020

Musical Monday - Hurt So Good by John Cougar

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: The week of July 24, 1982.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: Never.

In 1982, John Mellencamp made his first significant appearance on the music charts, hitting number one on the Cash Box chart with this song. Mellencamp is from a small town in southern Indiana, and this music video is covered in Midwestern small town-ness. Anyone who has ever spent any amount of time in one of the small towns that interrupt the sea of cornfields of southern Indiana will recognize the houses and shops that appear in the background of this video. The roads the video cast members drive their motorcycles on are actual roads in the Indiana countryside. I don't know for certain, but I wouldn't be surprised if the collection of cyclists who appear in the video were just a bunch of guys that Mellencamp met in a biker bar and invited over for a video shoot.

That said, there is an air of artificiality in this song and in this video, which is odd for an artist who later went on to build his career out of being the authentic voice of the heartland. To begin with, Mellencamp was using his stage name "Cougar", which is such a very twee name that it was never believable. The song itself feels forced and doesn't really align with most of Mellencamp's remaining oeuvre. From my perspective, Hurt So Good is a kind of strange prelude to Mellencamp's career - a career that didn't really start until Jack and Diane came out.

Previous Musical Monday: Fame by Irene Cara
Subsequent Musical Monday: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

Previous #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Don't You Want Me by the Human League
Subsequent #1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

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