‘Fool’ at 40: John Mellencamp’s classic 1982 album ‘American Fool’ celebrates milestone anniversary today

‘Fool’ at 40: John Mellencamp’s classic 1982 album ‘American Fool’ celebrates milestone anniversary today
The Island Def Jam Music Group

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the release of John Mellencamp‘s breakthrough fifth studio album, 1982’s American Fool, which was the last collection of original tunes that the Indiana-born singer/songwriter issued under the moniker John Cougar.

American Fool is Mellencamp’s only album to date to top the Billboard 200 chart, spending nine weeks at #1, spanning from September to November. It features two of his most-enduring hits, “Hurts So Good” and a little ditty called “Jack and Diane,” which peaked, respectively, at #2 and #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Jack and Diane” became John’s biggest hit, and his only song ever to reach the top of the Hot 100, where it enjoyed a four-week run in October of ’82.

The track features guitar and background-vocal contributions from Mick Ronson, best known as the lead guitarist in David Bowie‘s famed 1970s backing band The Spiders from Mars.

The album also includes one other hit single, “Hand to Hold on To,” which peaked at #19 on the Hot 100. American Fool has been certified five-times Platinum by the RIAA for sales of 5 million copies in the U.S.

Meanwhile, in 1983, Mellencamp won his only Grammy for “Hurt So Good” in the Best Male Rock Vocal Performance category, while American Fool was nominated for the Best Rock Album that year.

Mellencamp teamed up producer Don Gehman to co-produce American Fool, which the first of a run of four consecutive multi-Platinum albums on which the duo collaborated. The others were 1983’s triple-Platinum Uh-Huh, 1985’s fives-times Platinum Scarecrow and 1987’s triple-Platinum The Lonesome Jubilee.

Here’s the full track list of American Fool:

“Hurts So Good”
“Jack & Diane”
“Hand To Hold On To”
“Danger List”
“Can You Take It”
“Thundering Hearts”
“China Girl”
“Close Enough”
“Weakest Moments”

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