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Embarrassing video clip--John Cougar

I recently stumbled across some Youtube gold: a live performance by John Mellencamp when he was Johnny Cougar. He appears to be have been about 23, and he's singing "Ain't even Done With The Night", in front of a fairly unresponsive crowd with Bobby Bare (?!) in the front seat.

Cougar/Mellencamp is dressed in a nerdy sweater and generally bears no resemblance to the singer as we knew him just 5 years later. He looks a lot more like Potsie from Happy Days than the guy who sang "Pink Houses". Certainly, there is no way to watch this and make a connection to the guy whose song "This is Our Country" beat us to death by overuse in pickup truck commercials.

But the real entertainment value from this clip comes from the guys behind Cougar. In hot-pink tuxedos, there are 5 Pips-like backup dancers/singers who don't sing, but clap their hands real well. They essentially spend the entire song performing cheerleader dance routines not unlike those seen at high school football games.

There is no band, which would lead you to think it's all lip-synced. However, Cougar ad-libs a few times as if to make it clear to us that no lip-syncing shenanigans are going on.

Those two elements (lack of a band + backup dancers) converge in an especially funny/awkward attempt to act out the sax solo. Yes, you heard that right--a backup singer who doesn't sing acts out a saxophone solo at the 2:45 mark.

Amazingly embarrassing video. I bet he wants all the copies of this burned.


Karen said…
Maybe this is just a touch point for him -- the thing he points to to say look at what God redeemed me from... great video.
Karen said…
Maybe this is just a touch point for him -- the thing he points to to say look at what God redeemed me from... great video.
Karen said…
Maybe this is just a touch point for him -- the thing he points to to say look at what God redeemed me from... great video.
Seth Caddell said…
Hilarious. I'm amazed he hasn't tried to get youtube to take it down.
James said…
I should add this: I really like Mellencamp's body of work after around 1984. This video is embarrassing mainly because it's a low point in a career of making excellent music.
I don't think it's embarrassing at all. Haven't you seen Napoleon Dynamite? My prom tux looked just like that except it was white and black. I guess you had to be of that age at that time.
Unknown said…
The pink tuxedo dancers are his band mates, and they weren't allowed to play during this 1981 American music awards performance, so they quickly came up with this choreograph. Rumor has it that John was upset with his manager and made this performance a farce since he wasn't going to perform without his band.
Anonymous said…
I think this is the best rock and roll video of all time.
Anonymous said…
I think the fact that he wasn't lipsyncing this song & he's just as handsome as anyone could be, makes him & his " finely
choreographed" background men,nothing to be ashamed of.
He's a legend , & loved by millions! I , for one, am thrilled to look back at the humble beginnings of John , as most of us from that Era, can relate to !
Orbit said…
The audience in this music video is more sophisticated than the usual and RESPONDS at the finish of the performance. Its a great watch as the artist and the performers combine theatrics nd have fun doing a song in a way that doesn't follow the same old mold. In one word this is CREATIVE.

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