Jacquan and Diane?

Think you know Mellencamp? Think again! (Wikipedia Commons)

If you grew up in America in the 1980s, odds are you’ve heard the 1982 John Cougar Mellencamp hit “Jack and Diane.” It’s a “little ditty” about a couple of American kids “sucking down chili dogs outside the Tastee Freez.” Ring a bell?

Well, here’s something you probably didn’t know about the song: it was originally written about an interracial couple!

During an interview on HuffPost Live yesterday, Mellencamp confirmed that in his original lyrics, Jack was actually a black guy.

“Originally the line was Jack was not a football star, Jack was an African American,” the popular singer confessed. “In 1982, when I turned the song in to the record company, they went, ‘Whoa, can’t you make him something other than that?”

Mellencamp wasn’t interested in changing his lyrics initially, but did so “because he thought it was a little much for the early eighties.” And a brother has to get paid, right?

Fortunately, Mellencamp doesn’t regret his decision—most likely because the song is so popular, even today—and as someone who grew up in the 1980s, he likely made the right choice. Of course, he could reissue the song with his original lyrics… and I even provided him with a new title.

“Little ditty about Jacquan and Diane…”

Posted on September 23, 2014, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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