Jake Owen’s ‘I Was Jack (You Were Diane)’ Is a ‘Flip Song’
Jake Owen went No. 1 with his 2018 single "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)," his first single with his new label, Big Loud Records. There's no question that the song is super catchy, but it also packs in an element of nostalgia -- and not just because it's about swoon-worthy young love.
"I Was Jack (You Were Diane)" -- as its title suggests -- is based on John Mellencamp's beloved 1982 tune "Jack and Diane." Because Owen's song is a "flip song" -- one that uses an old song as the idea for a new one -- and because the song samples the guitar riff from "Jack and Diane," Mellencamp received a writing credit on the track, alongside Owen, Tommy Cecil, David Ray, Jody Stevens and Craig Wiseman.
In "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)," Owen's twang cuts through the melody with lyrical parallels to "Jack and Diane," in the first verse saying "two American kids just like them," a play on Mellencamp's famous lyric "two American kids growing up in the heartland." In the chorus, he references "Jack and Diane" literally, singing, "Do you turn it up / Do you sing along / Every time you hear that song?"
During the original co-writing session, Owen and his co-writers shared during a party celebrating the song's ascent to No. 1, the writers were briefed on the idea and came up with a rough cut of "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)" as a tribute to Mellencamp's original. Wiseman, who is ASCAP's Songwriter of the Century and has co-written songs for everyone from Brooks & Dunn to Trace Adkins, heard the demo through a friend and decided to jump on as a writer. The gang got together and wrote it in one night.
"I watch it light people up every night," Owen says. He played the song to fans around the country on his Life's Whatcha Make It Tour in 2018, and has a run of dates planned for 2019, beginning in January with an appearance at Luke Bryan's Crash My Playa festival.
Owen recently wrapped up his first season as a judge on USA Network's Real Country. He's also working on new music and preparing for the arrival of his second child.
All of Jake Owen's Singles, Ranked