Listen to Country Star Jake Owen’s John Mellencamp-Inspired ‘I Was Jack (You Were Diane)’
John Mellencamp's music has intersected with the country world a number of times over the years — and now it's happening all over again, courtesy of singer Jake Owen's new Mellencamp-inspired single "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)." You can hear it above.
As one might expect given its title, the song is heavily influenced by Mellencamp's early 1982 hit "Jack and Diane." Pegged by Taste of Country as a standout early contender for a summer 2018 hit, the track continues a recent trend of country crossovers for Mellencamp, including his appearance at the 2015 CMA Awards to deliver a duet on "Pink Houses" with Keith Urban.
"I Was Jack (You Were Diane)" also offers further proof of the ever-thinner line between classic rock and modern country. Fans will likely recall the mutual admiration society that developed between Bruce Springsteen and Eric Church after the latter released a song titled "Springsteen" several years ago — and Mellencamp notably recorded and toured with country veteran Carlene Carter recently, utilizing her for his 2017 Sad Clowns and Hillbillies LP.
For all that, Mellencamp doesn't necessarily see himself as having much of an influence on younger country artists. "You know, I really don’t think too much about that," he told CMT in 2009. "I can turn on my radio and I hear my influences all the time. I think that if somebody makes something and it’s out there, it belongs to whoever wants to use it next. … I think if it’s out there and in the air, it belongs to everybody. And everybody can use it. So I don’t think it’s a matter of even being an influence. I think it’s just a matter of — ‘I hear that. I like that. It connected with me. I’m going to try to do the same thing."