Watch John Mellencamp Join Keith Urban for a CMA Awards Performance of ‘Pink Houses’
It turns out that name-checking John Mellencamp in a hit song can come in pretty handy, even if you use his old stage alias. Just ask Keith Urban, who came armed with a little extra star power for his performance at this year's CMA Awards last night.
As captured in the segment of the awards show you can watch above, Mellencamp turned up for a rendition of his 1983 hit "Pink Houses." Originally recorded as part of his hugely successful Uh-Huh album, the song went on to Top 10 success as a single, and has since become one of Mellencamp's signature anthems — and, as demonstrated here, a pretty solid choice for a duet.
After starting the song solo, Mellencamp was joined by Urban, who took over for the second verse after the full band kicked in. The duo ended up sharing a mic to harmonize on the closing chorus, after which Mellencamp unplugged and strolled off the stage so Urban could switch to bass and perform his recent hit, "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16."
Although the song selection may have come as a surprise, the Mellencamp/Urban duet made perfect sense when it was announced, as "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16" resonated with country listeners immediately after Urban released it as the lead single from his upcoming album. Mellencamp, who ditched the "John Cougar" name in the early '90s after having it forced on him in the beginning of his career, may not have been interested in chipping in on a performance of that particular song, but he seems to appreciate the meaning behind the lyrics, which extol the virtues of small-town life and credit the titular trio with teaching the protagonist "everything I needed to know."
For Urban, whose Australian youth took place thousands of miles from the American heartland depicted in Mellencamp's classic records, that may ring particularly true. "His songwriting was such a huge part of my life," said Urban. "I almost feel like between all the TV I grew up with in Australia and John Mellencamp’s music — among many others — I knew what it meant to live there and grow up there."
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