Chart Week: July 3, 1982
Song: “Hurts So Good” – John Cougar
Chart Position: #5, 11th week on the chart. Peaked at #2 for four weeks in August.
This entry is about how the biological information Casey Kasem shared on American Top 40 was not always accurate. John Cougar (Mellencamp) is the perfect artist to demonstrate this point, as he charted under three different versions of his last name. For simplicity, I will refer to him by the name this song charted under.
During this week’s countdown, when “Hurts So Good” was beginning a two-month stretch where it held either the #3 or #2 position, Casey told a story about John’s family life.
Mr. Cougar is famously from Seymour, Indiana, a small town not too far from Bloomington. His primary residence remains between the two cities, he holds very good season tickets for IU basketball, and has donated millions to the university, notably for the indoor sports practice facility.
As Casey told his audience, when Cougar was just out of high school, he went to a party in Seymour with some friends. They had a few beers and started “acting like jerks,” in John’s words. John saw a pretty woman and attempted to talk to her. She rebuffed his approach, though, saying he was obnoxious and she wanted nothing to do with him.
John kept seeing this lady around town, kept working her a little, but she was never interested.
Eventually, however, he proved to her that his behavior at that party wasn’t his true personality and she agreed to go out on a date. John and Priscilla Esterline were married and, according to Casey, had by 1982 been married for 13 years.
“And that,” Casey concluded, “is the persistence you need to succeed in the music business.”
OK, nice story. Although I’m not sure how chasing a girl equates to not giving up when the music business keeps knocking you down, but whatever, Casey had time to fill and he probably got this blurb from Cougar’s agent or someone else close to him.
One problem: Cougar and Esterline were divorced in 1981. In fact, if Wikipedia can be trusted, Cougar was already married to his second wife before “Hurts So Good” hit the charts.
Over the years Cougar has been married three times, engaged at least two other times, and had numerous other public relationships with women.
As with all people in the public eye, there may be better tools to demonstrate his dedication, commitment, and work ethic than by using the length of his romantic relationships.
By the way, “Hurts So Good” landed at #8 on the year-end Hot 100 for 1982, the highest position for a song that did not reach #1 over the course of the year. That was one spot higher than one of the three songs that kept “Hurt So Good” out of the #1 spot, the Steve Miller Band’s “Abracadabra.” Cougar’s other massive ’82 hit, the far superior “Jack and Diane,” was one spot ahead at #7.