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Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits

Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits

4.9 7
by John Mellencamp

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He's been a cocky rocker (often referring to himself as "little bastard"), a deft interpreter of the roots music of bygone days, and a spokesman for the workingman. But no matter what guise he dons, it's always clear that John Mellencamp is the closest thing his generation has produced to an archetypal American songwriter. This career-spanning collection offers nearly


He's been a cocky rocker (often referring to himself as "little bastard"), a deft interpreter of the roots music of bygone days, and a spokesman for the workingman. But no matter what guise he dons, it's always clear that John Mellencamp is the closest thing his generation has produced to an archetypal American songwriter. This career-spanning collection offers nearly 40 snapshots of Mellencamp in action, from early hits like "I Need a Lover" and "Jack and Diane" -- quintessential midwestern romances infused with a potent dose of the region's deeply ingrained grit -- to more pointed early-'80s favorites such as "Rain on the Scarecrow" and "Small Town." Although Mellencamp became less of a chart-topping fixture in the '90s, he didn't lose a whit of his artistic potency, as evidenced by the steely "When Jesus Left Birmingham" (culled from 1993's Human Wheels) and his duet with Meshell Ndegeocello on a cover of Van Morrison's "Wild Night." Mellencamp doesn't waste the opportunity to debut fresh material on Words and Music. In fact, the pair of new songs -- both collaborations with Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds -- might well be Mellencamp's best in ages, particularly "Walk Tall," a poignant-yet-pugnacious plea for tolerance that benefits from the soulful sheen added by Edmonds. Even a quarter century into his career, John Mellencamp is still unquestionably the Hoosier Daddy.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
John Mellencamp has been in need of a thorough, career-spanning compilation for a while, and Island/UTV's 2004 release Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits finally fills that gap. His previous hits collection, 1997's The Best That I Could Do, was too short, since he had more hits than could fit on a brief 14-track disc. Words & Music doesn't have the problem of brevity. Spanning 37 songs over two discs, this has nearly all of his charting hits. Radio hits like "Justice and Independence '85" and "Rooty Toot Toot" may be absent, but they're not missed, since all the big hits are here, including "Pink Houses," "Lonely Ol' Night," "Paper in Fire," "Authority Song," "Crumblin' Down," "Small Town," "Hurts So Good," and "Jack & Diane," among many others (including two solid new songs). The biggest complaint that could be lodged against this collection is that the sequencing is doggedly nonchronological, which may upset some listeners who would like to hear his career evolve, but this sequencing flows like a good concert and highlights the common threads in his music from 1978 to 2004. As such, it's not only a good collection of hits, but it's a good career summary and introduction, as well. [Initial pressings of Words & Music contained a bonus DVD containing videos for "Crumblin' Down," "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.," "Rain on the Scarecrow," "Check It Out (Live)," and "Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)."]

Product Details

Release Date:


Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Mellencamp   Primary Artist,Vocals
Lisa Germano   Mandolin,Violin,Background Vocals
Jay Ferguson   Keyboards
Kenny Aronoff   Percussion,Drums,Background Vocals
Malcolm Burn   Organ
John Cascella   Accordion,Keyboards,Melodica
John Casella   Organ
Dane Clark   Percussion,Drums
Larry Crane   Guitar,Harmonica,Background Vocals
Sarah Flint   Background Vocals
David Grissom   Guitar,Mandolin
Reggie Hamilton   Bass
Carroll Sue Hill   Background Vocals
John Jarvis   Keyboards
Tom Knowles   Background Vocals
Ricky Lawson   Drums
Meshell Ndegeocello   Bass,Vocals,Background Vocals
Toby Myers   Bass,Background Vocals
David Parman   Background Vocals
George "Chocolate" Perry   Bass
Pat Peterson   Background Vocals
Michael Ramos   Organ,Accordion,Background Vocals
Rick Shlosser   Drums
Crystal Taliefero   Background Vocals
Mike Wanchic   Dulcimer,Dobro,Guitar,Mandolin,Background Vocals
Willie Weeks   Bass
Andy York   Organ,Guitar,Percussion,Background Vocals
Nancy Arnold   Oboe
Babyface   Guitar,Background Vocals
Kenneth Childers   Guitar
Miriam Sturm   Violin
Jeff Pedersen   Organ
India.Arie   Vocals
Moe Z M.D.   Organ,Drums,Background Vocals,Loops
Courtney Kaiser   Background Vocals
Jane McLeod   Background Vocals
Brian Bekvar   Keyboards
Jon Gunnell   Bass
Laurie Robert-Glug   Background Vocals
David Wierhake   Accordion
Robert Frank   Bass,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Ray Kennedy   Engineer
Steve Cropper   Producer
Malcolm Burn   Producer
Larry Crane   Contributor
Greg Edward   Producer,Engineer
Don Gehman   Producer,Engineer
Jay Healy   Engineer
Ross Hogarth   Engineer
David Leonard   Producer,Engineer
Paul Mahern   Producer,Engineer
John Mellencamp   Composer,Director,Producer
Van Morrison   Composer
John Punter   Producer,Engineer
Dee Robb   Engineer
Bruce Robb   Engineer
David Thoener   Engineer
George Tutko   Engineer
Mike Wanchic   Producer
Jann Wenner   Liner Notes
G.C. Green   Composer
Junior Vasquez   Producer
Babyface   Producer
Chris Gabrin   Director
Paul Boutin   Engineer
Marion Smith   Composer
Little Bastard   Producer
Jonathan Dark   Director
Jonathan Kaplan   Director

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Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who likes John Mellencamp must buy this CD. Words & Music has 35 of John's hits, plus 2 bonus tracks, Walk Tall and Thank You. Walk Tall is one of John Mellencamp's best songs to date, reminding us all of what is really important in this world, and reminding us that there is much work yet to be done. Thank You expresses John's gratitude for his fans, his career, and for the everyday people who fight everyday to make the world a better place. The arrangement of the songs on this album was given much consideration, they are not chronolgically arranged. The flow of one song to the next is meaningful and purposeful. This CD is a celebration of John Mellencamp's career, show-casing not only the talents of one of the best singer-songwriters of our time, but of John's band members past and present. A must-have for every John Mellencamp fan!! John's current tour supports this Greatest Hits CD, a live performance no one should miss!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
he was and still is in the top of the best!Jack and Diane is a great song too!I just love him!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally a complete greatest hits album by one of America's greatest Rock and Roll Legends. John's music is beautiful and his words are profound. I highly recommend you buy this CD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a fantastic Cd of great hits that bring back awesome memories! John's new song Walk Tall along with another new song Thank you is included in this greatest hits cd.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a big John Mellancamp fan. His songs are for everyone of any age to enjoy, as his songs define America. "Pink Houses," "Small Town," "Cherry Bomb," "I Need A Lover," and "Jack and Diane" are the greatest songs on the CD, but my absolute favorite is "Hurts So Good." !!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brings back all the memories of the 80's. John's songs, like "Small Town, Pink Houses, and Jack n' Diane" define America. I also love "Cherry Bomb and I Need A Lover." But my absolute favorite song is "Hurts So Good."