American Fool is the fifth studio album by John Mellencamp, released under the stage name John Cougar in 1982. The album was his commercial breakthrough, holding the No. 1 position on the Billboard album chart for nine consecutive weeks.

American Fool
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 27, 1982 (1982-04-27)
GenreRock, heartland rock
ProducerJohn Mellencamp, Don Gehman
John Cougar chronology
Nothin' Matters and What If It Did
American Fool
The Kid Inside
Singles from American Fool
  1. "Hurts So Good"
    Released: April 1982
  2. "Jack & Diane"
    Released: July 1982
  3. "Hand to Hold On To"
    Released: October 1982
Professional ratings
Review scores
Robert ChristgauB[2]
Rolling Stone[3]

A remastered version of American Fool was released on Mercury/Island/UMe on March 29, 2005; it includes one bonus track, the previously unreleased title track.[4]

Production edit

Producer Don Gehman stated in a 2011 interview that American Fool was fraught with layers of problems. "We had 20 or so songs, we had a record company that was hoping we were making a Neil Diamond‑type album, and after we spent two or three months in the studio recording these songs and mixing them to the best of our ability, I can remember an A&R guy in a pink shirt coming in to listen to them and basically thinking we had nothing. At that point, they put a stop to the project. We had ‘Jack & Diane,’ we had ‘Hand To Hold On To,’ we had ‘Weakest Moments’ — we had some good songs — and while I don’t know the precise nature of the discussions that took place, Riva went from wanting to get a new producer to not even wanting John on the label anymore. Finally, they came around to letting us finish it but wanting to hear the new songs we were going to cut."

According to a 1983 article in the Toledo Blade, the song "Danger List" originated when Mellencamp heard his guitarist Larry Crane playing some chords in a basement rehearsal room. "I turned on the tape recorder and sang 30 verses,” Mellencamp explained. "I just made them up. Then I went and weeded out the ones I didn't like."

Track listing edit

All songs written by John Mellencamp, except where noted.

  1. "Hurts So Good" (Mellencamp, George M. Green) – 3:42
  2. "Jack & Diane" – 4:16
  3. "Hand to Hold On To" – 3:25
  4. "Danger List" (Mellencamp, Larry Crane) – 4:28
  5. "Can You Take It" – 3:35
  6. "Thundering Hearts" (Mellencamp, Green) – 3:40
  7. "China Girl" (Joe New, Jeff Silbar) – 3:34
  8. "Close Enough" – 3:38
  9. "Weakest Moments" – 4:07
  10. "American Fool" (2005 re-issue bonus track) – 3:46

Charts edit

Chart (1982) Position
Australian (Kent Music Report)[5] 18
United States (Billboard 200) 1

Personnel edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "American Fool". Allmusic. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG: Artist 688". Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  3. ^ Emerson, Ken (September 2, 1982). "American Fool". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 5, 2012.
  4. ^ "John Mellencamp - Official Website :: Discography". Archived from the original on 2010-08-21.
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 197. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ a b c d The Best That I Could Do 1978–1988 liner notes (1997)