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Released: August 19, 1985

Rating: 4.427 (average of 12 ratings)

Genre: heartland rock

Quotable: “One of the definitive blue-collar rock albums of the mid-‘80s.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

Album Tracks:

  1. Rain on the Scarecrow (Green/ Mellencamp) [3:45]
  2. Grandma’s Theme (public domain) [0:55]
  3. Small Town [3:41]
  4. Minutes to Memories (Green/ Mellencamp) [4:11]
  5. Lonely Ol’ Night [3:45]
  6. The Face of the Nation [3:13]
  7. Justice and Independence ‘85 [3:31]
  8. Between a Laugh and a Tear [4:30]
  9. Rumbleseat [2:57]
  10. You’ve Got to Stand for Somethin’ [4:31]
  11. R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. [2:54]
  12. The Kind of Fella I Am [2:56]

Songs written by John Mellencamp unless otherwise noted.

Total Running Time: 40:49

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only 5.0
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 5.0


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 2
peak on U.K. album chart --

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Lonely Ol’ Night (8/17/85) #6 US, #1 AR, #37 AC
  • Small Town (9/14/85) #6 US, #53 UK, #2 AR, #13 AC
  • R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. (9/14/85) #2 US, #67 UK, #6 AR, #36 AC
  • Rain on the Scarecrow (9/21/85) #21 US, #16 AR
  • Justice and Independence ‘85 (11/30/85) #28 AR
  • Minutes to Memories (1/18/86) #14 AR
  • Rumbleseat (6/28/86) #28 US, #4 AR

Notes: A reissue of the album adds an acoustic version of “Small Town”.


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more.

John Cougar Mellencamp
Uh-Huh found John Mellencamp coming into his own, but he perfected his heartland rock with Scarecrow.” STE “Though the comparison has often been applied to him unfairly, it’s fair to say that Scarecrow is to John Cougar Mellencamp what Born in the U.S.A. is to Bruce Springsteen: a hugely popular hit that solidified both his fan base and his critical reputation. The one important difference is that U.S.A.’s message was largely misinterpreted (Ronald Reagan co-opted the title song in a manner that’s tragically ironic), while Scarecrow’s ode to Mellencamp’s native Indiana comes through loud and clear.” RS

“A loose concept album about lost innocence and the crumbling of small-town America, Scarecrow says as much with its tough rock and gentle folk-rock as it does with its lyrics, which remain a weak point for Mellencamp. Nevertheless, his writing has never been more powerful: Rain on the Scarecrow and Small Town capture the hopes and fears of Middle America, while Lonely Ol’ Night and Rumbleseat effortlessly convey the desperate loneliness of being stuck in a dead-end life. Those four songs form the core of the album, and while the rest of the album isn’t quite as strong, that’s only a relative term, since it’s filled with lean hooks and powerful, economical playing that make Scarecrow one of the definitive blue-collar rock albums of the mid-‘80s.” STE

Review Source(s):

Related DMDB Links:

previous album: Uh-Huh (1983) John Mellencamp’s DMDB page next album: The Lonesome Jubilee (1987)

Lonely Ol’ Night (video)

Small Town (video)

R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. (video)

Rain on the Scarecrow (video)

Rumbleseat (video)

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Last updated June 22, 2010.