Today’s singer is from a rural town in Indiana and often writes about the American experience. His songs are sometimes misinterpreted as patriotic songs, when a closer listen reveals lyrics that deal with the challenges of living in America.
He has expressed his love for his country, but has also criticized the US government for going to war in Iraq, developing a dependency on foreign oil and not doing more to support the working class.
This singer who has been known by several names over the years, told Rolling Stone that today’s song is “really an anti-American song. The American dream had pretty much proven itself as not working anymore. It was another way for me to sneak something in."
MTV ran a contest based on this song where they gave away a house of a certain color in Indiana. They got a great deal on the place, only $20,000, but unfortunately, the house was across from a toxic waste dump.
When Rolling Stone ran an article pointing this out, MTV execs flew to Indiana and bought another house, which is the one they gave away (after painting it that certain color). The first house near the waste dump stayed on the books at MTV until 1992, as they couldn't get rid of it.
Today’s artist is not one to ever give up. His relationship with actress Meg Ryan has ended 3 times since they got together in 2011 but they’re giving it another go.
In 1983 when today’s song came out Meg was just starting her career on the soap As The World Turns. By then today’s artist had already had hits like "Hurts So Good" and "Jack & Diane," which took him a long time to write. This one though was different, and marked a creative breakthrough.
"I started writing every day and painting and drawing, and I found myself open to suggestion," he said writing today’s song came very quickly. “ I wasn't thinking about it - I saw something a couple of days before, and I just more-less reported on it, and it came out to be this song.' True art is always a surprise. It's not constructed. If it doesn't surprise the person that's writing it, it's not going to surprise the person that's listening."
Surprise! It’s Pink Houses from John Mellencamp. I know that song!