Jake Owen on Making an Old Song New

And Getting John Mellencamp's Blessing

Jake Owen wasn’t even one year old when John (Cougar) Mellencamp released “Jack & Diane” in 1982. But that is kind of the acid test of a great rock song, right? It stands the test of time and can be rearranged and reimagined for decades to come.

And that’s what Owen has done with his brand new “I Was Jack (You Were Diane).”

“When I first heard ‘I Was Jack (You Were Diane),’ I thought, ‘How can I do this and re-create what is already a classic song?’ But the more I listened to it, the more I saw my own life growing up. The original ’Jack & Diane’ was about ’two American kids growing up in the heartland’ and that image is exactly what so many country songs are based on,” Owen said in a press release.

“Plus, the most important thing to me and my team is that we sent the song to Mellencamp,” he added, “and he digs the track. Getting his stamp of approval sealed the deal for me that this song should be our debut single.”

Mellencamp wrote the hit song by himself, and has said in interviews that it was based on the 1962 film Sweet Bird of Youth based on the Tennessee Williams play of the same name.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.
@alisonbonaguro