John Mellencamp’s “R.O.C.K. in the USA” peaked on the chart in March and April of 1986. Mellencamp tipped his hat to his 60’s musical heroes in the classic which spent five weeks in the top 10 in 1986.
The song was John’s third consecutive top 10 single from his iconic ‘Scarecrow’ album. He paid tribute in the song by namechecking Frankie Lyman, Bobby Fuller, Mitch Ryder, Jackie Wilson, The Shangri-La's, The Young Rascals, Martha Reeves and James Brown.
If you listen to the song’s lyrics carefully, you’ll also hear Mellencamp subtly pay tribute to Neil Diamond with an instrumental break in the song that closely resembles “Cherry, Cherry.”
John called himself a “walking contradiction” during is his 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame acceptance speech. He said, "I've been a total walking contradiction my entire career and I intend to stay that way. I've never cared about money, but I always wanted to get paid. I never cared about having hit records, but always wanted to hear my songs on the radio. I never cared what the critics had to say, but I always paid close attention to what they wrote."
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[Source: Classic Hits Today]