John Cougar Mellencamp lyrics question

In the song “Pink Houses” does he say “Hey darlin’, I remember when you could stop a clock” or “Hey darlin, I remember when you could stop a block”

I maintain that he says “block” because that’s how it sounds to me and stopping a clock usually mean you are ugly, while stopping a block indicates that you are so fine that everyone stops to stare.

I have as dollar riding on this and if y’all could help I’d appreciate it.

Listen to 0:50 to 1:00 in this video
and tell me what you think.


The official lyric is “stop a clock.” Yeah, sounds weird to me too…maybe she recently had plastic surgery?

Got the sheet music right here:

And he looks at her and says, “Hey darlin’,
I can remember when you could stop a clock.”

Sorry about your dollar. :frowning:

Thanks KGS for your input. I’ve listened to that video over and over and it seems as if I am expecting to hear clock, I hear that. And if I am expecting to hear Block, I will hear that.

My argument is, if you have a face that would stop a clock, you are ugly as a mud fence.
While if you can stop a block you are fine as hell.

I am not giving my dollar up easily, I need more input please.

Maybe he is saying she was always ugly?

Thanks Steph96, for your input.

I hate to give up, but I feel I may have lost this one.
I googled the hell out of it, too.
Everyone seems to think it’s clock.


The opening lines of the song sound awfully sarcastic to me. Maybe the guy is being nasty to his wife? Or maybe he’s telling her she’s gotten very good-looking over the years? Here they are:

*There’s a black man with a black cat
livin’ in a black neighborhood.
He’s got an interstate runnin’ through his front yard.
You know, he thinks he’s got it so good.

And there's a woman in the kitchen
cleanin' up the evenin' slop.
And he looks at her and says, "Hey darlin',
I can remember when you could stop a clock."*

I’m not sure what the guy means. Also, why is Mellencamp so angry that people vacation down in the Gulf of Mexico? He makes it sound like it’s the worst possible thing you could ever do!

(Does eight lines violate any copyright laws? If so, feel free to delete this post!)

He very clearly says hey darlin’, Iguhrememer when youguh stahvaglah!

On a side note.
I just went into the other room and told my sweetie that she had a face that would stop a clock, she was not amused.

This whole thing started because I am going to a karaoke party this weekend and John Mellencamp is right in my vocal range (ie limited).

I still think I am right and if I ever get a chance to meet Mr. Mellencamp I will ask him.

Also, to be brutally honest; I’ve never heard the expression ‘stop a block’ before.

You know what’s funny Steph? When I listen to the song it sounds like he says, " there’s a Blind man with a black cat etc."

Oh, well I’ll sing it like I want.
Thanks for your help.

Fair enough.
Stop a clock just didn’t seem right to me somehow.

I’ve never heard the “Stop a Block” term either.

But I have heard the Stop a Clock reference used both ways.
Though it’s usually also “She’s so fine she’s got a(n) (whatever body part as needed) to stop Time!” sorta cheesy lines when they’re going for the stop clock reference. Asses usually stop clocks positively. Faces tend to go negatively.

For many years, I was absolutely convinced the lyrics went, ‘and he said, hey darlin’, I remember when you cooked with starch and flour.’ I argued this with people. I had theories about what it meant.

I still don’t think the real lyrics make any more sense than what I thought.

Gotta agree with this one.
Go back and read the lyrics. Nowhere does it mention “face”.

My take on it is that it’s a sort of self-deprecating sarcasm/subtle putdown. A play on the phrase “I remember when you could stop traffic”, changed to be, like living in a little pink house, having the interstate running through your front yard, feeding on the evening slop, etc., another example of his meager existence here in the Land of the Free.

To throw another misinterpretation onto the pile… I always thought he was saying “I remember when you could starve a flower”, and had no idea what the hell that meant either.

I never had any problem with the stop a clock part. To me it seems his wistful memory of a time before the freeway (and the slop) when his wife was young and beautiful and his life didn’t suck. That is about the only line I heard correctly though. I always heard the opening lines as "There’s a blind man with a black hat livin’ in a blind man’s world :smack:

Also, this made me snort:

What about when he says “I need a lover that won’t drive me crazy?” Does he mean he is looking for some type of device or equipment to be his lover? Wouldn’t he prefer a lover who won’t drive him crazy?

I always thought the lyric in question was, “Starve a flower,” as in, she was so pretty flowers paled in comparison. I like my version better.

Slight hijack, the JCM lyric that gives me twitchy eye every time I hear it is, “No, I cannot forget from where it is that I come from.” GAH!

I’m not really sure if that in place of who is incorrect. I used to think it was, but I see it in print all the time that presumably passed an editor. And in any case, John Mellencamp surely has some artistic license to say what he thinks sounds best in his music.