At this time, Mellencamp, who had given up drugs and alcohol before graduating from Vincennes University, decided to pursue a career in music and traveled to New York City in an attempt to land a record contract.
After about 18 months of traveling back and forth from Indiana to New York City in 19, Mellencamp finally found someone receptive to his music and image in Tony De Fries of Main Man Management.
"It was too labored over, too thought about, and it wasn't organic enough. According to the February 1986 edition of Creem Magazine, Mellencamp wanted to incorporate the sound of classic '60s rock into Scarecrow, and he gave his band close to a hundred old singles to learn "almost mathematically verbatim" prior to recording the album.
The record company thought it would bomb, but I think the reason it took off was – not that the songs were better than my others – but people liked the sound of it, the 'bam-bam-bam' drums. "Learning those songs did a lot of positive things", Mellencamp explained to Creem writer Bill Holdship.
Mellencamp attended Vincennes University, a two-year college in Vincennes, Indiana, starting in 1972.Mellencamp's best music is rock 'n roll stripped of all escapism, and it looks directly at the messiness of life as it's actually lived.