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  • Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits
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Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits Limited Edition, CD+DVD

166 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Limited Edition, CD+DVD, October 19, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The First Ever 25 Year Career Retrospective From John Mellencamp Includes 35 Digitally Remastered Classics Plus 2 New Recordings. Features the New Hit Single "WALK TALL". Includes a Limited Edition 5 Song Bonus DVD.

Compare this to John Mellencamp's previous hits set, The Best That I Could Do 1978-1988, and it quickly becomes apparent how much the artist formerly known as John Cougar has grown in the second phase of his career. Following a 1994 heart attack, the songwriter transformed from cocky jukebox hero to compassionate everyman, trading in big pop riffs for sublime, politically charged songs that echo the outspoken work of Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. Spanning 25 years, this 35-track set incorporates most of the last collection along with more recent hits over two discs in nonchronological order. --Aidin Vaziri

Disc: 1
1. Walk Tall - John Mellencamp
2. Pink Houses - John Mellencamp
3. Lonely Ol' Night - John Mellencamp
4. Jackie Brown - John Mellencamp
5. Rain On The Scarecrow - John Mellencamp
6. Love And Happiness - John Mellencamp
7. Check It Out - John Mellencamp
8. Peaceful World - John Mellencamp
9. Paper In Fire - John Mellencamp
10. Your Life Is Now - John Mellencamp
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Thank You
2. Martha Say
3. Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)
4. Hand to Hold on To
5. I Need a Lover
6. Hurts So Good
7. Get a Leg Up
8. Wild Night
9. Dance Naked
10. Teardrops Will Fall
See all 18 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 19, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Limited Edition, CD+DVD
  • Label: Island
  • ASIN: B0002XL252
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,682 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 111 people found the following review helpful By Jim Bagley on January 13, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A major fixture in American music for over 25 years, Words & Music is John Mellencamp's first (near) career-encompassing collection. Its two discs contain 37 digitally remastered selections - including all 22 of his top 40 hits - covering 14 albums. Mellencamp's only musical phase neglected here is his initial recordings for MCA Records from the mid-70s when he was using the Johnny Cougar moniker (and frankly, they deserve to be ignored).

Even after Mellencamps's first couple of albums on Mercury in 1979 and 1980, it was hard to envision that a long, substantial career lie ahead. With his initial hits "I Need A Lover," "This Time," and "Ain't Even Done With The Night," Mellencamp came across as a rebel with a few good riffs and simplistic lyrics that rarely went beyond stud-boy prowling. "Hurt So Good" - the ultra infectious leadoff single from 1982's American Fool album was more of the same, but Mellencamp's next hit would forever alter his image: "Jack and Diane," a slice of life saga of a boy and girl growing up in the Midwest (like Mellencamp did). The lyrics for "Jack and Diane" and its follow-up "Hand To Hold Onto," remained uncomplicated, but they hold a nostalgic eloquence to which a broader, post adolescent 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 1985's thematically varied Scarecrow album - with vignettes of rock and roll heroes ("R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A."), the simple life ("Small Town"), young love ("Lonely Ol' Night," "Rumbleseat"), and the plight of the modern farmer ("Rain On The Scarecrow)" - found Mellencamp really coming into his own as a storyteller.
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By M J Heilbron Jr. VINE VOICE on December 6, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Now this is a collection to be proud of. His previous disc didn't tell nearly enough of the story (although admittedly it was a "volume one") but this one seems just right.

Every song you know. Every song sounds better from a technical point of view.

Every song is improved by it's context. The album defines a career; it makes his impressive talent obvious.

The two "new ones" are fine...they're "gravy" as I like to say. The "meat and potatoes" part...the "hits" after song after song...

...the quality of the songwriting improves dramatically. The musicianship improves dramatically. The scope and breadth of his work is simply well displayed here.

That's EXACTLY what you ask for in a greatest hits type of compilation.

Best of all, you'll hardly ever hit the "skip track" button. It's a joy from stem to stern.

The people who will need this record are:

1) The Mellen-heads...because every Mellencamp fan will need these songs sounding this good.

2) The more casual fan who recognizes a few of the song titles here. This record will expand your appreciation for his career, and you'll find new songs to love.

3) The "student" of rock. This album makes a case for his inclusion amongst the great rock singer-songwriters of all time. While maybe not quite Springsteen, he's close. Certainly up there with (and in my opinion, above) people like Bob Seger, Tom Petty, Jackson Browne and the like.

4) The "newbie". If you're just discovering Mellencamp, or maybe only know one or two songs but want to know more, this will absolutely HOOK you. You'll most likely seek out some of his albums...I recommend starting with "Scarecrow" and "The Lonesome Jubilee."

And on a more superficial level, this is an incredible "car" record. This is one to play with the top down and the volume up.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By R. Gorham on October 19, 2004
Format: Audio CD
OVERVIEW: 25 years and 16 albums later, we're treated to the Mellencamp collection we've been waiting for. It was only a matter of time before a new & improved digitally remastered 2-cd set came out - and here it is! Mellencamp's last compilation is now obsolete - with all the songs from "The Best That I Could Do" being here, minus one song "Without Expression" (of which I hardly miss). This is truly a beautiful collection of Mellencamp's best work.

WHAT YOU GET: 2 discs, 37 tracks - all digitally remastered. 2 new songs - "Walking Tall" and "Thank you" (featuring some great slide guitar). A 10 page booklet listing all the tracks, the players and the albums they came from. The notes say these tracks were chosen and arranged by the artist himself. All 22 "Top 40" songs of Mellencamp's are represented here... including the standards "Hurt So Good", "Jack & Diane", "Crumblin' Down", "Pink Houses", "Authority Song", "Paper In Fire", "I Need A Lover", "Small Town", "R.O.C.K In The USA", "Key West Intermezzo", and more.

EXTRAS & MISC: A bonus DVD is included containing a mere 5 tracks - 1 song 'live', and 4 videos. The albums of Mellencamp are all represented on "Words & Music", minus his first 2 (somewhat obscure) releases. You'll find no songs from "Chestnut Street Incident" (1976), or "Kid Inside" (1977) with probable good reason. Mellencamp's ("Cougar" at the time) self titled album featuring "I Need A Lover", followed by "Nothin Matter's And What If It Did" is where this collection starts. "American Fool" (1982) is where Mellencamp gained his fame featuring stronger song writing with hits, "Hurt So Good" and "Jack & Diane". The success of "Uh Huh" in 1983 (featuring "Pink Houses" and "Crumblin' Down") forever would make Mellencamp a household name.
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