On this day in music history: October 24, 1983 -…

On this day in music history: October 24, 1983 – “Uh-Huh”, the seventh album by John Cougar Mellencamp is released. Produced by “Little Bastard” and Don Gehman, it is recorded at The Shack in Jackson County, IN with the Criteria Mobile R.V., TRC Studios in Indianapolis, IN and Cherokee Studios in Hollywood, CA in July 1983. After more than seven years of struggling to score a major hit, John Cougar breaks through spectacularly in 1982 with this sixth album “American Fool’. With that huge success, the musician is given greater creative freedom, allowing him  to be true to his own artistic vision, rather than towing the line with his record label.  For the follow up release, he reverts to using his given surname of Mellencamp, never really liking his stage name “Cougar”. Rather than recording in the confines of a formal recording studio, most of the new album is recorded in the home of one of Mellencamp’s friends in Brownstown, IN. The house is still under construction at the time of the sessions, with Mellencamp and the band using a mobile recording studio rented from Criteria Studios. Collaborating with his long time songwriting partner George Green, Mellencamp also writes one song with country/folk legend John Prine. Those songs aside, many are quickly written and recorded on the spot during the few weeks it takes to complete the album. Led by the first single “Crumblin’ Down” (#9 Pop), the song is inspired in part by how tenuous a person’s hold on success is, and the implications of losing it. Another inspiration for the song is John’s cousin, who had then recently lost his job. The initial idea for the second single “Pink Houses” (#8 Pop) comes when Mellencamp is driving along the interstate to his home in Bloomington, IN, when he sees an elderly black man sitting on the porch of his little pink shotgun house. The man waves to him as he’s driving by, and Mellencamp waves back. “Uh-Huh” is another solid success for the Indiana born singer, songwriter and musician. It spins off a third single “Authority Song” (#15 Pop). Released only to album rock stations, the tracks “Play Guitar” (#28 Top Tracks) and “Serious Business” (#34 Top Tracks) also receive considerable airplay. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2005, featuring the acoustic version of “Pink Houses” (originally released as the B-side of “Authority Song”) as an added bonus track. It is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2016, making the title available in the format again for the first time in over twenty five years. “Uh-Huh” peaks at number nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.