Mellencamp was working on his Cuttin' Heads album when his best friend, Billboard editor Tim White, died suddenly. "It took all the wind out of my sails," he recalled. "This song was written after Tim's death. I was pretty unhappy, and I was trying to make myself feel better."
The TV show Cheers was nearly canceled after its first season, but the theme song, "Where Everybody Knows Your Name," was very popular. To satisfy viewer demand, the theme was made into a full song and released as a single.