John Mellencamp – Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First) ———Songs that reference The Beatles

In a hand painted night, me and Gypsy Scotty are partners, At the Hotel Flamingo, wearin black market shoes, This loud Cuban band is crucifying John Lennon

This song was released in 1996 and it came off the album Mr. Happy Go Lucky. The song peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada and #83 in the UK in 1996. It’s a very good pop song and Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First), which was Mellencamp’s last US top 40 hit.

John Mellencamp and Cougar had 29 songs in the Billboard 100, 10 top ten hits and one number 1 (Jack and Diane). He released this two years after his minor heart attack in 1994. I’ve always liked this song…catchy riff and a good pop hook.

 

Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)

In a hand painted night, me and Gypsy Scotty are partners
At the Hotel Flamingo, wearin black market shoes
This loud Cuban band is crucifying John Lennon
No one wants to be lonely, no one wants to sing the blues

She’s perched like a parrot on his tuxedo shoulder
Christ, what’s she doing with him she could be dancing with me
She stirs the ice in her glass with her elegant finger
I want to be what she’s drinking, yeah I just want to be

I saw you first
I’m the first one tonight
I saw you first
Don’t that give me the right
To move around in your heart
Everyone was lookin
But I saw you first

On a moon spattered road in her parrot rebozo
Gypsy Scotty is driving his big long yellow car
She flies like a bird over his shoulder
Se whispers in his ear, boy, you are my star

But I saw you first
I’m the first one tonight
Yes I saw you first
Don’t that give me the right
To move around in your heart
Everyone was lookin’

In the bone colored dawn, me and Gypsy Scotty are singin’
The radio is playin, she left her shoes out in the back
He tells me a story about some girl he knows in Kentucky
He just made that story up, there ain’t no girl like that

But I saw you first
I’m the first one tonight
Yes I saw you first
Don’t that give me the right
To move around in your heart
Everyone was lookin
But I saw you first
I saw you first

John Mellencamp – The Authority Song

The then John Cougar Mellencamp released the album “Uh Huh” in October of 1983. This is when I became a fan. I did like some of his earlier songs like “Ain’t Even Done With The Night” but with this album, his sound changed. I just turned 16 when the Authority Song came out so naturally, I connected with it.

The album peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100 in 1984. He had 5 singles in the top 40 released off of this album. The Authority Song peaked at #15 in the Billboard 100 in 1984.

From Songfacts

When discussing this song, Mellencamp called it “our new version of ‘I Fought The Law.'” It’s typical of Mellencamp’s rebel attitude: “growing up leads to growing old and then to dying.” 

Mellencamp had a complex relationship with authority, which unlike what’s stated in this song, didn’t win.

He grew up in Seymour, Indiana, where nobody had ever become famous. Ignoring the many naysayers, he went to New York and earned a record deal, which he learned wasn’t a big deal after all, as labels were hiring photogenic young rockers by the hundreds. Most of these aspiring superstars came from cities and were willing to play the game, doing whatever the label deemed necessary. Mellencamp clashed with this culture but didn’t have a clear direction. He tried on a number of public personas before establishing his identity as a heartland rocker with his 1982 American Fool album. By Uh-huh, he was still focused on making hits, but imbuing them with more subtext and artistry. He was also transitioning his stage name, becoming “John Cougar Mellencamp” for the first time (he started recording as “Johnny Cougar,” and then, “John Cougar”).

Thanks to “Jack & Diane” and “Hurts So Good,” Mellencamp was a big star by the time this song was released, and much of his success was owed to MTV. He hated making videos, and “Authority Song” paired him with a director who had equal disdain for the form: Jay Dubin, who told Songfacts, “It just has to look nice and exist for a few short minutes. There’s no magic in it.”

The video, in black and white, shows Mellencamp as a boxer stepping into the ring, but without gloves and without ever actually fighting.

The Authority Song

They like to get you in a compromising position
They like to get you there and smile in your face
They think, they’re so cute when they got you in that condition
Well I think, it’s a total disgrace

I fight authority, authority always wins
I fight authority, authority always wins
I been doing it, since I was a young kid
I’ve come out grinnin’
I fight authority, authority always wins

So I call up my preacher
I say: “Gimme strength for Round 5”
He said: “You don’t need no strength, you need to grow up, son”
I said: “Growing up leads to growing old and then to dying,
And dying to me don’t sound like all that much fun”

I fight authority, authority always wins
I fight authority, authority always wins
I been doing it, since I was a young kid
I’ve come out grinnin’
I fight authority, authority always wins

I fight authority, authority always wins
I fight authority, authority always wins
I been doing it, since I was a young kid
I’ve come out grinnin’
I fight authority, authority always wins
Oh no
Oh no
I fight authority, authority always wins

I fight authority, authority always wins
I fight authority, authority always wins
I been doing it, since I was a young kid
I’ve come out grinnin’
I fight authority, authority always wins
I fight authority, authority always wins
I fight authority, authority always wins
I been doing it, since I was a young kid
I’ve come out grinnin’
I fight authority, authority always wins