On 12 January 1980, “I Need a Lover” by John Cougar Melloncamp was at #69. It peaked in1979 at #28.
I don’t know whether to be annoyed or inwardly impressed by the lyrics to “I Need a Lover“. On the one hand, for a guy in a dead-end existence, living his life out in pool rooms and a hole of an apartment, to think that part of the solution is finding some chick who will go away after getting it on with him is at best misguided. The sex might be fun and all, but it’s not going to help him get anything in order. On the other hand, at least he’s honest about what he wants. He’s frustrated and lonely and while he’s sorting things out, he just wants some action, you know? It’s not even like he’s complaining about women (which you might expect from a song whose refrain is “I want a lover who won’t drive me crazy”). I was expecting this song to be a litany of complaints about the women who have messed up his life, sort of a tamer version of Warren Zevon’s “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me“. No, he’s just not interested in commitment, which isn’t a horrible thing, so long as he’s honest about it to people other than himself. It’s hard to tell if he is, given the roller-coaster ride of an intro: that seems to signal a lot of shifting emotions going from expectation to disappointment. But let’s not judge; let’s just hope that this guy gets on with his life and finds a better place. As for Melloncamp himself — this was his first top 40 hit, and he’s set for quite a lot more, so no need to worry about him.