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Is This What Happened to Characters From John Mellencamp, Bon Jovi and Steve Miller’s Hits?


Classic rock fans of all ages have grown up with John Mellencamp‘s “Jack & Diane,” Tommy and Gina from Bon Jovi‘s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and Billy Joe and Bobby Sue from the Steve Miller Band‘s “Take the Money and Run.” But where did those characters go after the last verses of their hit songs ended?

Only the songwriters know for sure, but that hasn’t stopped humorist Liza Behles from imagining a future for each hit’s protagonists in a recently published McSweeney’s post. We won’t spoil too many details here, but it probably won’t surprise you to learn that the passage of time hasn’t always been kind to these crazy rock ‘n’ roll kids.

Diane, for starters, is now 48 and living in Santa Monica — and while you’ll have to read the post to find out how things turned out for her and Jack, suffice it to say that the picture Mellencamp painted of the young lovers may not have been entirely accurate. Gina, meanwhile, is 46 and still living in Jersey. As for Tommy, who she admits “honestly believed we’d end up happily ever after, like in Teen Wolf“? We’re guessing he might still be on the docks, but for different reasons.

Which brings us to Bobby Sue, now 56 and living in Austin — several ZIP codes away from Billy Joe, whose thirst for living the outlaw life might have sounded great in a rock song, but probably wasn’t as well thought-out as some of us would have liked to believe. Those crazy kids crossed the border with Billy Mack on their tail, and although they gave him the slip, they weren’t prepared to lead a bandito existence in Mexico — or to cope with Billy Joe’s allergy to las abejas.

It’s all very silly, of course, but you’ll get some chuckles out of it, and maybe a few ideas about what happened to some of classic rock’s other well-known characters. Feel free to submit your own to McSweeney’s; their submission guidelines are right here.

See John Mellencamp and Other Rockers in the Top 100 Albums of the ’80s

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