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"Hurts So Good" is a song by American singer-songwriter John Mellencamp, then performing under the stage name "John Cougar." The song was a number two hit on the Billboard Hot 100[2] for the singer/songwriter. It was the first of three major hit singles from his 1982 album American Fool. The others were "Jack & Diane" and "Hand to Hold On To," which were all released in 1982. The song was also a critical success with Mellencamp winning the Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male at the 25th Grammy Awards on February 23, 1983.

"Hurts So Good"
Hurts So Good Single.jpg
Single by John Cougar
from the album American Fool
B-side"Close Enough"
ReleasedApril 1982 (April 1982)
Format7-inch 45 rpm
StudioCherokee, Los Angeles[1]
GenreHeartland rock, hard rock
Songwriter(s)John Mellencamp, George Green
Producer(s)John Mellencamp, Don Gehman[1]
John Cougar singles chronology
"Ain't Even Done with the Night"
"Hurts So Good"
"Jack & Diane"
Music video
"Hurts So Good" on YouTube

Background and recordingEdit

"Hurts So Good" was written by Mellencamp and George Green, Mellencamp's childhood friend and occasional writing partner. The song was first conceived, Mellencamp claims, in his baby's crib.[citation needed] John claims to have been inspired by a person named Tiffany who, the day before, had uttered the phrase "Hurt so good" referring to an acupuncture treatment she was receiving from John's paternal grandmother. John repeated the lines to Green, and they finished the song very quickly.[3] In 2004, Mellencamp expounded on the writing of "Hurts So Good" in an interview with American Songwriter magazine: "George Green and I wrote that together. We exchanged lines back and forth between each other and laughed about it at the time. Then I went and picked up the guitar, and within seconds, I had those chords."[4]

The song was recorded at Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles, California and was engineered by Don Gehman and George Tutko. Backing Mellencamp were Larry Crane and Mike Wanchic (guitars, backing vocals), Kenny Aronoff (drums), George "Chocolate" Perry (bass) and Dave Parman (backing vocals).[1]

Music videoEdit

Much of the video was filmed in Medora, Indiana, a small town located approximately 20 mi (30 km) southwest of Seymour, Indiana, where Mellencamp was born and raised.



The song hit number one on Billboard's Hot Tracks mainstream rock chart. It peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 7, 1982 and, although it failed to make number one, it spent 16 weeks in the top 10, the longest time for any song in the 1980s. It was kept off the top spot by "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor.[5] The song was listed at #83 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of All Time.[5] The song also reached #39 on the New Zealand Top 50.[6] The song was also a hit in Canada reaching #3 on RPM magazine's Top 50 Singles chart.[7] In South Africa, the song reached number 5.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d The Best That I Could Do 1978–1988 (CD liner). John Mellencamp. US: Mercury Records. 1997. p. 9. 314 536 738-2.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 418.
  3. ^ White, Timothy (1997). "Who's to Say the Way a Man Should Spend His Days: The First Two Hundred Years of the John Mellencamp Story". The Best That I Could Do 1978–1988 (CD liner). John Mellencamp. US: Mercury Records. p. 6. 314 536 738-2.
  4. ^ Mellencamp, John (January 1, 2005). "John Mellencamp". American Songwriter (Interview). Interviewed by Paul Zollo.
  5. ^ a b "The Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs".
  6. ^ Hung, Steffen. "John Cougar - Hurts So Good". Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  7. ^ a b "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  8. ^ a b "Acts M". SA Charts 1965–1989. Springbok Radio/Radio Orion. Retrieved 15 May 2015 – via
  9. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990. ISBN 0-89820-089-X.
  10. ^ "Top 100 Singles". Cash Box. July 24, 1982 – via
  11. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W., Australia: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  12. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1982/Top 100 Songs of 1982". Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  13. ^ "Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles". Cash Box. December 25, 1982 – via

External linksEdit