Authority Song

Album: Uh-Huh (1983)
Charted: 15


  • 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." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Lauren - Houston, TX
  • 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 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.

Comments: 6

  • Resist Authority 2021 from Free TexasThe spirit of this song is applicable more today than ever. Believe nothing, question everything that those in " authority" try and tell you to do.
  • Nancy Patrick from Alabama Usa What is the name of the little boy in the video Authority by John cougar Mellencamp
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 11th 1984, "Authority Song" by John Mellencamp entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #69; and nine weeks later on May 13th, 1984 it peaked at #15 for one week...
    Also reached #15 on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart...
    Was track three of side one on his fourth studio album, 'Uh-Huh', and the album reached #9 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
    Two other tracks from the album also made the Top 100 chart; "Crumblin Down" {peaked at #9} and "Pink Houses" {reached #8}...
    Mr. Mellencamp will celebrate his 64th birthday this coming October 7th {2015}.
  • Leo from Westminster 1, MdI love The Authority Song because it's about John's life and my life as well. I AM A REBEL AND DAMN PROUD OF IT! Too much Authority is a bad thing. Rock Hard for the struggling Rebel Farmer, Mr. Mellencamp!
  • Sara from Union City, TnI grew up on Mellencamp"s music. These songs will always hold memories. This one especially.
  • Daniel from Islip Terrace, NyReel Big Fish recorded a cover of this song on their album Fame, Fortune and Fornication. the album is just a bunch of cover songs.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Who Wrote That Song?

Who Wrote That Song?Music Quiz

Do you know who wrote Patti Smith's biggest hit? How about the Grease theme song? See if you can match the song to the writer.

George Harrison

George HarrisonFact or Fiction

Did Eric Clapton really steal George's wife? What's the George Harrison-Monty Python connection? Set the record straight with our Fact or Fiction quiz.

The Real Nick Drake

The Real Nick DrakeSong Writing

The head of Drake's estate shares his insights on the late folk singer's life and music.

Tommy James

Tommy JamesSongwriter Interviews

"Mony Mony." "Crimson and Clover." "Draggin' The Line." The hits kept coming for Tommy James, and in a plot line fit for a movie, his record company was controlled by the mafia.

Al Kooper

Al KooperSongwriter Interviews

Kooper produced Lynyrd Skynyrd, played with Dylan and the Stones, and formed BS&T.

Stand By Me: The Perfect Song-Movie Combination

Stand By Me: The Perfect Song-Movie CombinationSong Writing

In 1986, a Stephen King novella was made into a movie, with a classic song serving as title, soundtrack and tone.