Walker played liberal Mellencamp’s “Little Pink Houses” and he got called on it

john cougar mellencamp

So perhaps you’ve heard that Scott Walker’s campaign played John Mellencamp’s song “Pink Houses” Tuesday this week and Mellencamp let Walker know how ridiculous that was.  His publicist sent an email to Associated Press about it.

From AP: “Liberal rocker John Mellencamp wants conservative Republican Gov. Scott Walker to know he supports union rights and says Walker should think about that before using his songs on the campaign trail.”

Not like Walker cares.

I love the song, but isn’t it out of date? Because isn’t buying a home out of reach for a lot of Wisconsinites now?

You won’t see those conditions if you live in Waukesha County where Walker’s conservative friends are rolling in WEDC cash hand-outs (as you can see HERE). And things don’t look as dour in Dane County where unemployment is a low 4.6%. But if you live in one of the 18 counties that never saw any WEDC crony cash, you’re living in a higher unemployment county. For example, Vilas County has 11.8% unemployment.

I doubt there are new “little pink houses for you and me” in those areas.

Anyway, when this album came out in ’83 I was 14 years old and the song I liked far more than “Pink Houses” was “Jack and Diane”. That’s a song me and the other kids sang out loud together while we walked from the lake to downtown to buy ice cream after a daily swim. (I know that sounds hokey but I am not kidding. When the film Flashdance came out we also literally danced in the street.) It was the summer of ’83. My soft-serve ice-cream was lime. Mellencamp was telling us to “Hold on to 16 as long as you can, Changes come around real soon, Make us women and men”.

I took the ominous lyric to mean that marriage and children were looming and not necessarily in that order or maybe not together.

When my 16th birthday rolled along I stayed dumb as a sixteen-year-old for at least four solid years. My worst vice remained ice cream that whole time. What a good spoiled brat kid I was.

Thanks for the advice, John Cougar Mellencamp.

By the way, “Pink Houses” describes a real scene:

..one of Uh-huh’s most memorable songs, “Pink Houses,” isn’t a rocker at all but a ballad about the contentment to be found in leading a modest life. Inspiration struck Mellencamp on a highway overpass. “I looked down and saw this old man, early in the morning, sitting on the porch of his pink shack with a cat in his arms,” he says. “He waved, and I waved back. That’s how the song started.”

“The first time we ever played it is the way it stayed,” says guitarist Larry Crane. “We said, ‘Well, we got that one,’ and we didn’t bother it after that.”

LYRICS:

Little ditty about Jack and Diane
2 American kids growin up in the heartland
Jackie gonna be a football star
Diane debutante backseat of Jacky’s car

Suckin’ on chili dog outside the Tastee Freeze
Diane’s sittin’ on Jacky’s lap
He’s got his hand between her knees
Jacky say “Hey Diane lets run off
Hind a shady tree”
Dribble off those Bobby Brooks
Let me do what I please.
Jacky Say uh

Oh yeah life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin is gone
Oh yeah life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin is gone, they walk on

Jacky sits back collects his thoughts for the moment
Scratches his head and does his best James Dean.
Well you know Diane, we oughtta run of the city
Diane says “Baby, you aint missin’ no-thing”
Jacky say a

Chorus

Gonna let it rock
Let it roll
Let the Bible Belt come down
And Save My soul
Hold on to 16 as long as you can
Changes come around real soon
Make us women and men

Chorus

Little ditty about Jack and Diane
Two American kids doing the best they can

 

 

LYRICS: There’s a black man with a black cat
Livin’ in a black neighborhood
He’s got an interstate
Runnin’ through his front yard
You know he thinks that he’s got it so good
And there’s a woman in the kitchen
Cleanin’ up the evenin’ slop
And he looks at her and says, hey darlin’
I can remember when you could stop a clock

Oh, but ain’t that America
For you and me
Ain’t that America
Something to see, baby
Ain’t that America
Home of the free, yeah
Little pink houses
For you and me
Oooh, yeah
For you and me

Well, there’s a young man in a t-shirt
Listenin’ to a rockin’ rollin’ station
He’s got greasy hair, greasy smile
He says, Lord this must be my destination
‘Cause they told me when I was younger
Said boy, you’re gonna be president
But just like everything else
Those old crazy dreams
Just kinda came and went

Oh, but ain’t that America
For you and me
Ain’t that America
Something to see, baby
Ain’t that America
Home of the free, yeah
Little pink houses
For you and me
Oooh, little baby
For you and me

[Instrumental Interlude]

Well, there’s people and more people
What do they know, know, know
Go to work in some high rise
And vacation down at the Gulf of Mexico
Ooh, yeah
And there’s winners and there’s losers
But they ain’t no big deal
‘Cause the simple man, baby
Pays for thrills
The bills the pills that kill

Oh, but ain’t that America
For you and me
Ain’t that America
Something to see, baby
Ain’t that America
Home of the free, yeah
Little pink houses
For you and me
Oooh
Ooooh, yeah…

 

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