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Song of the Day: John Mellencamp's "Human Wheels"

Published May 1, 2012 3:34 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

"Rough Harvest" was a 1999 album by John Mellencamp that is an overlooked gem from the artist who has grown so much as lyricist over time.

Recorded mostly in 1997, the album fulfilled Mellencamp's contract with Mercury Records, and while most of these type of albums are creatively awful, this record featured many of Mellencamp's songs re-imagined in a more organic fashion, forsaking electronic elements for authentic, acoustic renditions.

"Human Wheels" is one of the better songs Mellencamp ever wrote, and the lyrics were composed mostly by a friend of his, George Green, who had wrote it as a eulogy for his grandfather. Mellencamp tackles the song again on "Rough Harvest," but here is the original:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWWMmxyKOR0

Here is a live version that hew closely to the "Rough Harvest" take: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXCD7hmlicg

By the way, I once asked Jason Aldean what his ringtone was. It was "Human Wheels."

And to get a taste of "Rough Harvest," here is a drastically different version of "Between a Laugh and a Tear": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SED1xhVLi6Q