|Studio album by|
|Released||August 5, 1985|
|Recorded||March 20 - April 29, 1985, in Belmont, Indiana|
|Producer||John Mellencamp, Don Gehman|
|John Cougar Mellencamp chronology|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Scarecrow is the eighth studio album by John Mellencamp. Released in August 1985, it peaked at #2 on the U.S. chart behind the Miami Vice Soundtrack. The remastered version was released May 24, 2005 on Mercury/Island/UMe and includes one bonus track.
This album contained three Top 10 hits, a record for a Mellencamp album: "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.," which peaked at #2 in the U.S.; "Lonely Ol' Night," which peaked at #6; and "Small Town," which also peaked at #6. "Lonely Ol' Night" also peaked at #1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, his second chart-topping single on this chart.
In 1989, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Scarecrow #95 on its list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s, saying: "Scarecrow consolidated the band's rugged, roots-rock thrash and the ongoing maturation of Mellencamp's lyrics."
Rolling Stone also reported that the band spent a month in rehearsals, playing a hundred rock and roll songs from the Sixties before going into the studio. According to the record's producer, Don Gehman, the idea was to "learn all these devices from the past and use them in a new way with John's arrangements."
The overall theme of the album is the fading of the American dream in the face of corporate greed. Rolling Stone wrote that songs such as "Face of the Nation," "Minutes to Memories" and "Small Town" have a "bittersweet, reflective tone."
In his 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibit, Mellencamp said: "With Scarecrow, I was finally starting to find my feet as a songwriter. Finally, for the first time, I realized what I thought I wanted to say in song. ...I wanted it to be more akin to Tennessee Williams, John Steinbeck, Faulkner, as opposed to The Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan."
"I wrote a song called 'Stand for Something'," Mellencamp explained to Creem magazine in late 1985, "but I never did say what you should stand for - except your own truth. That song was supposed to be funny, too, and I hope people got that. But I think that's the key to the whole LP - suggesting that each person come to grips with their own individual truth - and try to like themselves a little bit more. Find out what you as a person are - and don't let the world drag you down. People should have respect for and believe in themselves."
Mellencamp told Creem that he was "kinda disappointed" in "R.O.C.K. (In The U.S.A.)" and "Justice And Independence '85", saying: "I don't think people are getting the idea of what the song's about, so I must've not done a very good job."
All songs written by John Mellencamp, except where noted.
^also appears as the B-side to "Lonely Ol' Night"
|Year||Title||Billboard Hot 100||Adult Contemporary||Top Rock Tracks||Notes|
|1985||"Lonely Ol' Night"||6||1|
|1985||"Justice and Independence '85"||28||non-single album track|
|1986||"R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A."||2||6|
|1986||"Rain on the Scarecrow"||21||16|
|1986||"Minutes to Memories"||14||non-single album track|