Back when he called himself John Cougar, John Mellencamp scored his first-ever hit with his 1979 single “I Need A Lover,” and Pat Benatar would cover the song later that year on her debut album In The Heat Of The Night. But for all its classic-rock pedigree, it’s a weird song, a nearly six-minute vamp packed with key changes. The former Walkmen cover Hamilton Leithauser, who recently covered the song for the A.V. Club video series, called the cover “an incredible challenge” and talked about how he and his new touring band (which includes former Walkmen guitarist Paul Maroon) bonded with each other by figuring the song out. Their spirited cover of the song is an impressive feat, and it’s also the first time I can remember seeing a live audience joining in on one of these things. Watch it below.
Leithauser’s solo debut Black Hours is out now on Ribbon Music.