“Pink Houses” is a song written and performed by John Cougar Mellencamp. It was released on 23 October 1983 album Uh-Huh on Riva Records. It reached No. 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in early 1984 and No. 15 in Canada. “Pink Houses” was ranked No. 447 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Recorded in a farmhouse in Brownstown, Indiana, the song was inspired when Mellencamp was driving along an overpass on the way home to Bloomington, Indiana, from the Indianapolis airport. There was an old black man sitting outside his little pink shotgun house with his cat in his arms, completely unperturbed by the traffic speeding along the highway in his front yard. “He waved, and I waved back,” Mellencamp said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “That’s how ‘Pink Houses’ started.”
Mellencamp has stated many times since the release of “Pink Houses” that he’s unhappy with the song’s final verse. At an October 2014 press conference, he stated: “A long time ago, I wrote a song called ‘Pink Houses.’ Now when I hear that song, all I can think is: ‘Why didn’t I do a better job on the last verse?’ If I had written it today, the last verse would’ve had more meaning.
Little known fact, was that the video for the song was shot in Southern Indiana locations such as Seymour, Austin, and Bloomington in August and September 1983. The house appearing near the beginning (with man on porch) is located at 530 West York Road in Austin, Indiana. The white, two-story gas station known as Bedel’s Store, bedecked in patriotic buntings and an American flag, was located on the SE corner at the intersection of Indiana State Road 250 and U.S. Highway 31 in Uniontown, Indiana (lat 38.843458: long -85.822764) and is no longer present. Additionally, the man with no shirt on and a straw hat who dances near the end of the video, filmed on September 15 1983, was Harvey Goodin (1941- 2013) the mayor of Austin, Indiana in 1983 when the video was shot.