Pink Houses

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“Pink Houses” is a song written and sung by John Cougar Mellencamp. It was released on the 1983 album Uh-Huh on Riva Records. It reached #8 on the US Billboard Hot 100. “Pink Houses” was ranked #439 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Recorded in a farmhouse in Brownstown, Indiana, the song was inspired when Mellencamp was driving along an overpass on the way home from Bloomington, Indiana from the Indianapolis airport. There was an old black man sitting outside his little pink shotgun house with his cat in his arms, completely unperturbed by the traffic speeding along the highway in his front yard. “He waved, and I waved back,” Mellencamp said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “That’s how ‘Pink Houses’ started.”

In 1984, Ronald Reagan sought permission from Mellencamp to use the song for one of his campaign ads, having apparently missed the cynical, critical tone of the verses and heard only the cheerful chorus. Mellencamp, however, would not grant Reagan permission.

In 2004, the song was played at events for John Edwards’ presidential campaign.The song was also used at events for Edwards’ 2008 presidential campaign.

“Pink Houses” along with “Our Country” was played by John McCain at political events for his 2008 presidential campaign. Mellencamp contacted the McCain campaign to request that they cease playing his music.

Releases on Albums

* Uh-Huh (1983)
* The Best That I Could Do (1997)
* Words & Music: John Mellencamp’s Greatest Hits (2004)

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