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  • The Best That I Could Do 1978-1988
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The Best That I Could Do 1978-1988


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Audio CD, November 18, 1997
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. I Need A Lover 5:37$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Ain't Even Done With The Night 4:38$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Hurts So Good 3:39$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Jack & Diane 4:16$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Crumblin' Down 3:35$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Pink Houses 4:44$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Authority Song 3:49$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Lonely Ol' Night 3:45$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Small Town 3:41$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A. (A Salute To 60's Rock) 2:55$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen11. Paper In Fire 3:52$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen12. Cherry Bomb 4:49$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen13. Check It Out 4:20$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen14. Without Expression 5:06$0.99  Buy MP3 

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A Meditation on John Mellencamp’s Life, Death, Love and Freedom
A few years ago, the Hungarian ambassador to the United States asked me to moderate a panel discussion at the embassy on “Rock & Roll as a Force for Freedom on Both Sides of the Iron Curtain.” The panel was to consist of the ambassador (András Simonyi), Tommy Ramone and me.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 18, 1997)
  • Original Release Date: November 18, 1997
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mercury Records
  • ASIN: B000001EYI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,902 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This first-ever Mellencamp retrospective contains his first hit, 1979's I Need a Lover ; his huge singles Jack and Diane; Hurts So Good; R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.; Pink Houses , and more, plus a brand-new song, Without Expression . 16 tracks in all.

Amazon.com

The Best That I Could Do collects the singles that led John Mellencamp into the radio/jukebox pantheon he celebrated in "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." and "Cherry Bomb." While albums such as American Fool, Uh Huh, and Scarecrow held Top 10 spots for months, their spinoff hits made this Hoosier disciple of Jagger, J.B., and Iggy into something like a Reagan-era John Fogerty: not only were "Pink Houses," "Paper in Fire," and "Crumblin' Down" wise (and wiseacre) dispatches from an America where it wasn't always morning, they could fill a dance floor and get you pounding the dashboard on the way home. --Rickey Wright

Customer Reviews

I rate this collection...Five stars!
D. S. HARDEN
Not only the mega hits "Hurts so good" and "Jack and Diane" but also "R.O.C.K", "Pink Houses", "Small town" and more.
William Valencia
This is a good CD, I really enjoy his music.
Alina

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Jim Bagley on July 18, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Initially this collection was envisioned as a lengthy single-disc career overview of the noted rocker, with 17 singles spanning his twenty years on the Mercury label. Ultimately, it was pared back to 14 singles emphasizing the first decade, with such recent hits as "Get A Leg Up," "Wild Night," and "Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)" being dropped from the lineup (the prolific Mellencamp deserved a double-disc retrospective anyway, so hopefully we will see a second set highlighting his more recent material in the not too distant future).
After Mellencamps's first couple of albums on Mercury in 1979 and 1980, it was hard to envision that such a long, substantial career lie ahead. As represented here by initial hits "I Need A Lover" and "Ain't Even Done With The Night," Mellencamp (then known as John Cougar) came across as a rebel with a few good riffs (copped from the Rolling Stones?) and simplistic lyrics which rarely went beyond stud-boy prowling (a la Eddie Money). This trite image would thankfully be altered by 1982's American Fool album and, especially, its second single "Jack and Diane," a slice of life saga of a boy and girl growing up in the midwest (as Mellencamp did). The lyrics remained simple, but they acquired a nostalgic eloquence to which a broader audience could relate.
1983's Uh-Huh (with its enclosed singles "Crumblin' Down," "Pink Houses," and the raucous "Authority Song") showed even more of an emphasis on heartland reflections, while Mellencamp hit his artistic peak with 1985's thematically varied Scarecrow album. His odes to rock and roll heroes ("R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By John Jones on June 14, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Anyone who's ever stepped foot in a bar or put money in a jukebox is more than familiar with the work of John Mellencamp. His earthy pairing of rock and country, not to mention lyrics that often celebrate the American dream as well as its disillusions, produces a down-home feel that appeals to any hard-working guy sidling up to the bar for a cold one. Listening to a Mellencamp record always sounds like you're sitting in on a jam session; the musicianship is tight as can be but it still sounds like everybody's hanging loose. This compilation, then, featuring almost all of his major hit singles, sounds like a party from start to finish.
Early hits like "I Need a Lover" and "Ain't Even Done With the Night" still hold up well, and even the most modern rock would be hard-pressed to match the weight of the grooves found in "Hurt So Good" and "Jack and Diane." The songs that proved him heir to the Springsteen throne, "Pink Houses" and "Small Town," still sound as earnest as they did upon release, and if ever a pair of pop songs justified testing the volume limit of your stereo, they would be "Lonely Ole Night" and "Crumblin' Down."
To have the collection stop at 1988 is puzzling, however; this leaves out his amazing cover of "Wild Night" with Me'shell N'Degeocello, and the two major VH1 staples from his "Mr. Happy Go Lucky" release, "Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)" and "Just Another Day." Had these been included (instead of the less-deserving "Check it Out," a "Cherry Bomb" knockoff) the compilation would have felt a touch more complete.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven Sly on October 8, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This album is exactly what the title implies, a collection of Mellencamp's singles recorded during his first decade. For what it is the album is a decent enough collection. You get no album cuts here, just the big hits and as the title implies there is nothing from any of his albums after 1988. So, there is a lot missing here. If you are just looking for the hits this is ok, but Mellencamp's work goes much deeper than this.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ashleigh on January 7, 2000
Format: Audio CD
i don't actually have this album... my mom does. i used to find it embarrassing that she would blast this album from her car stereo while she was driving. but then i really started to listen to the songs on here and started to find some meaning in them. john mellencamp is now one of my favorite artists. the best songs are jack & diane, hurts so good, pink houses, and my favorite, paper in fire. some people think i'm weird because i'm 13 years old and i like john mellencamp- but at least i know good music when i hear it! go buy this album RIGHT NOW i guarantee you will love it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on January 5, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Creating a good "Best of" CD is not nearly as easy at it seems, which is why there are so many medicre ones out there. "The Best that I Could Do," however, is exactly what it ought to be as it uncanilly hits just about all of the high points of John Mellencamp's first decade as a recording artist. Thankully, it includes only two tracks released before his breakthough "American Fool" ablum, "I Need a Lover" and "Ain't Even Done With the Night," which are probably the only two songs from his early Johnny Cougar days worth hearing. After that, the collection includes all of the best cuts from "Fool," "Uh-huh," "Scarecrow" and "The Lonesome Jubilee," many of which were staples of FM rock radio and MTV during the 1980s. Mellencamp also gets a plus for only taking up space on this CD with one "new" track, the catchy "Without Expression" that closes the CD.
Overall, "Best that..." is a first rate anthology album for fans who don't want to put up the coin for all of the original albums. It also leaves you looking forward to CD that will cover the next ten years.
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