The record company thought it would bomb, but I think the reason it took off was — not that the songs were better than my others — but people liked the sound of it, the 'bam-bam-bam' drums. Mellencamp reluctantly agreed, but the album was a commercial failure, selling only 12, copies. And I remember watching the concert—and the light went off. John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits , which contained 35 of his radio singles including all 22 of his Top 40 hits along with two new tunes, " Walk Tall " and "Thank You" — both produced by Babyface but written by Mellencamp. Toward the end, I didn't even go to the studio.
The album was released on September 23, Learning those opened the band's vision to try new things on my songs. When I objected to it, he said, 'Well, either you're going to go for it, or we're not going to put the record out. Never has Mellencamp sounded so artful. We are very like-minded and on musical ground that really feels right. But when I went to see him live, his band was so phenomenally good. It was like everything came together. Donovan made a record in , Sunshine Superman , and I wanted to start with that same kind of vibe—Eastern, very grand stories, fairy tales. The first leg of what was called the Words and Music Tour in the spring of featured Donovan playing in the middle of Mellencamp's set. That's going to be a fun challenge. I was totally unaware of it until it showed up on the album jacket. And I remember watching the concert—and the light went off. Mellencamp released Freedom's Road , his first album of original material in over five years, on January 23, The album, which was released on July 15, , was produced by T Bone Burnett. When Mellencamp was 17, he eloped with his pregnant girlfriend Priscilla Esterline. I played so many of those songs in my cover bands. Mellencamp, who co-headlined 11 shows in the summer of with Bob Dylan , launched the No Better Than This theater tour on October 29, in his hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. People have licensed songs that have already been hits, but nobody's licensed a brand-new song to a major company, and people don't know how to react. I'm taking heat because no one's ever done this before. I've since gotten to know John a little bit and it was one of the greatest opportunities I've ever had to meet a hero and tell him about a concert you went to when you were a nobody and how much of an effect that concert had on me. I was blown away. The leg of the tour concluded on September 3 in Canfield, Ohio. You'll get three different types of John Mellencamp, and you'll get a movie. Isn't that where music started? I know this sounds crazy, but it happens a lot, I think, to songwriters—you can't tell it by looking, but I was working out—and all of a sudden I just started singing 'easy targets' and I thought, 'oh no, now I've got to stop what I'm doing" and it took me In , Mellencamp said:
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