Recorded in a farmhouse in Brownstown, Indiana, “Pink Houses” was inspired by a tableau that the heartland rocker witnessed on a highway overpass. Just as the song's opening verse tells it, there was an elderly African-American gentleman “sitting on the porch of his pink shack with a cat in his arms,” John Mellencamp told Rolling Stone. “He waved, and I waved back. That's how the song started.” This song, and the Uh-huh album it was taken from, won over previously skeptical music critics with its rootsy populist rock.
"Everyday People" managed to trailblaze in two different ways -- it was one of the first pop hits to deal with the subject of racial harmony, and it utilized Larry Graham's "slap" technique on the bass guitar, which would soon be copied by countless other bassists. Graham once said about his pulsating style, "I'd never done that before … that's where the freedom of creativity came in for the band, that we'd be allowed to do that." In 1978, the song's line "Different strokes for different folks" would be borrowed for the title of the hit television show Diff'rent Strokes.