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Boomer Anthems: A Little Ditty ‘Bout Jack and Diane Tells Us to Don’t Stop Believin’

“Ronson came down and played on three or four tracks and worked on the American Fool record for four or five weeks. All of a sudden, for ‘Jack & Diane,’ Mick said ‘Johnny, you should put baby rattles on there.’ I thought, ‘What the fuck does put baby rattles on the record mean?’ So he put the percussion on there and then he sang the part ‘let it rock, let it roll’ as a choir-ish-type thing, which had never occurred to me. And that is the part everybody remembers on the song. It was Ronson’s idea.” — John Mellencamp

Oh yeah, life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone
Oh yeah say life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin’ is gone
They walk on

“I take it home on my cassette. I go to his house the next day, the very next day, in his little flat, and then we got to write the lyrics. I always listened to what he scatted for clues. … I said, “Well, it sounds like (he sang) ‘lonely world.’ That (word) sounds like ‘anywhere.’ ” I said, “What if it’s like ‘Jack and Diane,’ you know? Kind of, “Just a small-town girl.” He goes, “Livin’ in a lonely world.”

“Now we’re in the movie, and the movie goes on and on and on. I said, “I’ll tell you where the location is. This sounds like Sunset Boulevard in the ’70s, where I lived, and it sounds like Friday night.”I was explaining to them how everybody would cruise up and down the boulevard. I mean, the hustlers, the dreamers, the producers, the actors, the actresses, the wannabe starlets, the wannabe anybodieswere all on Sunset, cruising, driving, looking for their hookup, their something.” — Jonathan Cain, Journey

Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world
She took the midnight train going anywhere
Just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit
He took the midnight train going anywhere
A singer in a smoky room
A smell of wine and cheap perfume
For a smile they can share the night
It goes on and on and on and on

Strangers waiting, up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night
Streetlights people, living just to find emotion
Hiding, somewhere in the night

Working hard to get my fill
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin’ anything to roll the dice
Just one more time
Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on

Strangers waiting, up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching in the night
Streetlights people, living just to find emotion
Hiding, somewhere in the night

Don’t stop believing
Hold on to the feeling
Streetlights people
Don’t stop believing
Hold on
Streetlight people
Don’t stop believing
Hold on to the feeling
Streetlights people

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  • Anonymous May 18, 2018, 1:43 PM

    Jonathan Cain was a ham-fisted keyboard player that lifted his leg all over those good Journey songs. Did the same thing when he was with the Babys.

  • ghostsniper May 18, 2018, 2:23 PM

    Cougar’s from around these parts, his studio is right down the road in Belmont, has a big custom crib over on Lake Monroe south of Bloomington. The guy that was in charge of the framing on that crib is who I hired 12 years ago to help me frame my workshop/office. Said Cougar’s a real dick, takes forever to pay his bills. Then whines cause he can’t get subs out to the jobsite. Apparently a slow learner, money makes the world go round for everybody not just him, but he hasn’t figured it out.

    He was raised down in Seymour, about 60 miles south of here, and they have a little display set up in the old historical train station about him and we went in there one time. Knowing what I know about Cougars personality flaws I probed the curator and it was difficult for her to maintain an even composure and reluctantly agreed that he’s a dick. She went to school with him.

    Journey was the first “new” band I heard after I came back stateside after 37 months in Germany in late 1977. “Lights”. I liked it. So I bought the album and then I knew. They were a bitch band. All lovey dovey actin’. Schon could shred some frets though. He cut his teefs with Carlos a few years prior. My current squeeze at the time, circa 1979, dragged me to one of their concerts and that’s when I got disgusted with Perry’s gushing. Swayin; and undulatin’ all over the place. His britches were so tight not only could you verify his gender but also his religion. Embarrassing. The ho’s luvved that shit though. Some good luvvin later on. So there’s that. But on the personal side that Schon’s a real piece of fuck. Go look him up and you’ll wanna punch him in the face. Saw them on PBS a couple years ago and hell, is there anyone original left?

    I guess it’s bound to happen. Decades roll by, people die, change their minds, move on in other directions, etc. Nothing stays the same. Seems all the old rocker groups that are still around are all different now.

    Cept for RUSH.

    Still the same canadian power trio from 1974 to now.
    They knocked my ass out back then and I’m still in a coma.
    Listened to a couple of their toonz this afternoon, even played along with “Ghost of a Chance”.
    Last saw them in Noblesville about 8 years ago, but I’ll never do that again.
    Now, concerts aren’t about the music or the performance.
    It’s just another venue for the repulsive FagBook genre to push the me, Me, ME thing right up in your grill and hold it there as long as you can tolerate, and all for just about $125 per ticket.
    Yeah, $125, and we almost didn’t get them. The tickets that is. Ticketmaster sold every last one in less than 20 minutes of availability. Fortunately my wife set us up in the que so we were guaranteed to get em but it took 3 days to find out.

    $125. shewe
    Them 1979 Journey tickets cost $6.50 each, the show was excellent, and REO Speedwagon played as well as Blackfoot. dawgeez…..

    From $6.50 to $125 in 30 years flat.
    Nothings faster than the speed of inflation.

    Yeah Gerard, I remember it.

  • edaddy May 18, 2018, 6:57 PM

    Hey ghost, every Hoosier knows Mellencamp is a dick.

  • jwm May 19, 2018, 7:43 AM

    Last year I was in Las Vegas taking a stroll down Fremont Street. They have tribute bands doing free concerts at a couple different stages. These guys are very good. One of the bands starts into “Don’t Stop Believing” (Just. Like. The Record!) and invites the very drunk and stoned audience to sing along. Next thing I knew I had wrecked my vocal chords. Sounded like Mr. Ed for a couple days afterwords. It was worth it, though. Jack & Diane? yuk. on my least favorite list since the first time I heard it.

    JWM

  • Snakepit Kansas May 19, 2018, 7:59 AM

    Before he was known as John Mellencap, he was John Cougar! I saw him open for KISS in 1979 when he was still nobody. My Dad took me to the show since I was only 14. KISS was so loud he blames that one concert for his current hearing damage. The crowd was not there for Cougar and people were throwing things at him and booing. Cougar and his giant acoustic guitar were forgettable. Ticket cost was $12.50 which included $.50 for parking. I still don’t care for any of Cougar’s music. A few months later my Dad took me to see Molly Hatchet, a really good show.

    Ghost,
    RUSH: I never cared much for them except for their song WORKING MAN. Probably one of the top 10 rock songs of all time, but what do I know?

    BLACKFOOT: TRAIN, TRAIN and GIMME GIMME GIMME and HIGHWAY SONG are good stuff! That would have been a hell of a show back in the 80’s.

  • ghostsniper May 20, 2018, 10:47 AM

    @Snake, What do you know? Well, you know a pretty good toon. Yeah, Blackfoot thumps hard. Southern Rock. YEE_OOOW!

    That RUSH toon is from their first album with the old drummer, John Rutsey, from maybe 1972-73.
    In 74 Rutsey was replaced by Neil Peart and away they went. He’s called “The Professor” for a reason. Probably the best drummer of all time, and not just rock. The doods cage is menacing and daunting at once. Maybe 100 pieces all said and done. In the late 70’s, from the 2112 album, when they toured they had a portable 40′ tall waterfall on stage. Listen to the album, you’ll see. er hear.

    “The sleep is still in my eyes, the dream is still in my head.
    I heave a sigh and sadly smile, and lie awhile in bed.
    I wish that it might come to pass, not fade like all my dreams….”

    My thing has always been Lifeson’s guitar work. I can play maybe 20 songs note for note. Very challenging stuff. And the lyrics. OMG. Always done by Peart and always way over the top.

    The thing non-players are unaware of is that with a 3 piece somebody is always filling in for somebody else. That takes some real tight coordination and that task falls mainly to the drummer. Constantly stuffing little packages in the gaps.

    Geddy is the bass player and VOX and also the keyboardist, all at the same time. In one song, Xanadu, when Lifeson goes into the lead on that massive Es1275 double neck Geddy sets his Rickenbacher bass on a loop and grabs up a 6 string guitar and takes over for Lifeson on rhythm while Lifeson gets all over that lead. Wow! I’m not describing it adequately.

    One night at the Ritz Carlton in Naples, FL Alex Lifeson and his son and a couple other people were throwing hundred dollar bills left and right at liquor bottles and before too long the law was called in. The colored gurl with the badge and the shitty attitude showed up and got all up in there and the next thing you know she got her ass knocked the fuck out and then the paddy wagon shows up and everybody goes to the shit can. whoa. Next morning the guitar player for RUSH has his beat up face big and large on the front page of the Fort Myers News Press, just down the page a little bit from Thomas Edisons dumpy mug up in the corner like it always was. I guess Alex couldn’t keep his trap shut no matter how many times the jackboot jammed that club in it. So the tazers were bought out and everybody calmed down. Couple days were spent in the shitcan and thousands of rocker dollars were surrendered to the thugs and they all private jetted back over the Canada border.

  • Vanderleun May 21, 2018, 11:08 AM

    Someday I’m gonna do an omnipost called “Tales of the Ghostsniper.”

  • TN VOLUNTEER May 22, 2018, 6:52 PM

    ….As a Boomer- that song made me sad- and now it
    makes me sadder to the point of crying!

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