Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Five-Pick 12-Minutes To Memories-John Mellencamp (1985)

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Scarecrow Mellencamp Image One
Image Credit: Discogs

Hanspostcard has a song draft challenge. This is my Round Five pick.

Pulling myself out of 1978, I am moving into the 1980s. ~Vic

John Mellencamp‘s Scarecrow album was released on August 5, 1985, 25 days prior to my 19th birthday and six weeks before I started my sophomore year of college. God, what an album. This was Mellencamp’s version of Born In The USA (I own both albums). Roots rock/Heartland rock was the music in the background of my graduation from high school and subsequent foray into college. Minutes To Memories was not an official release from the album but, it managed to make it to #14 on the Top Rock Tracks for one week as a non-single album track. It spoke volumes to me…

“You are young and you are the future
So, suck it up, tough it out
Be the best you can.”

Written by Mellencamp and his childhoon friend George M. Green, it is the #4 track on the album and Mimi Mapes sang backing vocals. Scarecrow made it to #2 on the Billboard 200 chart the week of November 16, 1985 (coming underneath Born In The USA, twice) and stayed for a couple of weeks, stuck behind the Miami Vice Soundtrack.

“I wrote a song called [You’ve Got To] Stand For Something,” [Mellencamp] explains, “but, I never did say what you should stand for…except your own truth. That song was supposed to be funny, too and, I hope people got that. But, I think that’s the key to the whole LP…suggesting that each person come to grips with their own individual truth […] and try to like themselves a little bit more. Find out what you as a person are […] and don’t let the world drag you down. People should have respect for and believe in themselves.”

John Cougar Mellencamp: Working Class Hero In The Rumbleseat
Bill Holdship
February 1986
Mellencamp Forum

John Mellencamp Image Two
Image Credit: mellencamp.com

A deeply felt sense of responsibility and an equally motivating need to atone for past missteps seem to define Scarecrow. On the midtempo Minutes to Memories, Mellencamp tells the story of a young boy riding home to Indiana after a trip to the South. In the next seat on the bus is a seventy-seven-year-old retired steelworker lecturing the child on how to live, backing his advice with experience. “My family and friends are the best things I’ve known,” he instructs, and the child, a budding rebel, chuckles to himself at how out of touch the old dog is.

Easing into the final verse, Mellencamp hushes his band. In a voice just above a whisper, he suddenly shifts the tale from third to first person. He’s the kid on the Greyhound and, his inability to comprehend, let alone act on, the wisdom he was given then, still haunts him… “Now that I’m older I can see he was right.” [T]hen Mellencamp reveals that he’s telling this story to his own son. He knows he’s being silently scoffed at as surely as his travel companion was two decades earlier. Still, he accepts it and the band rocks out.

Album Reviews: Scarecrow
Jimmy Guter
Rolling Stone
September 26, 1985

Official Website

There is no official video of this song but, the below is one guy’s idea.


7 thoughts on “Hans 2021 Song Draft: Round Five-Pick 12-Minutes To Memories-John Mellencamp (1985)

    msjadeli said:
    September 10, 2021 at 3:46 PM

    Farmers, the hardest working individuals in any society. There is a skill and an art to it, yet there is a glaring lack of appreciation for what farmers do. I appreciate Mellencamp for honoring them in his song. With climate change it’s going to be all the more precarious to bring in good crops.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 11, 2021 at 1:23 AM

      My maternal grandparents were farmers. I grew up on a former chicken farm. It is not an easy life but, it has its rewards.

      Mellencamp did a good job writing/singing about the failing farms in Rain on the Scarecrow. That is a good song, too.

      I have a different view on the climate change thing.

        msjadeli said:
        September 11, 2021 at 12:17 PM

        You’ve seen the work involved up close and personal then. We grew up in the city, but when I was 16, my stepdad and mom decided to move out to the country and build a house. I joined them a year later and lived out there a couple of years before moving back to the city. My brothers got to be friends with some farm kids down the road, and our neighbor operated a good-sized centennial farm single-handed. We saw how they worked from sun-up (and often before sun-up) to sundown. From an outsider looking in, to be a farmer means to be intimately connected with every aspect of nature, which has got to be rewarding. Agreed on Mellencamp. OK on our difference of opinion.

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          September 11, 2021 at 11:43 PM

          My grandmother’s parents were tobacco farmers. My grandmother loved FDR because her dad lost the farm after the stock market crash (couldn’t sell his tobacco) but, FDR gave theirs back.

          Communing with Mother Earth is very rewarding. She loves us, even with the mess we have made. And, regarding climate change, I don’t deny that it is, indeed, changing but…not for the reasons being put forth. Things are warming up and the CO2 levels are rising for a reason…and, it ain’t us.

            msjadeli said:
            September 12, 2021 at 4:27 PM

            I can see why grandma loved FDR. He was a good pres, for as much as I know about him.

            Vic, we’ll have to leave it at disagreeing on the causes of climate change.

    badfinger20 (Max) said:
    September 11, 2021 at 9:28 PM

    One of my favorite songs by Mr John Mellencamp. I babbled on Han’s site…this is one song that we agree on!

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