Click to return to Dave’s Music Database home page.

Released: Sept. 7, 1993

Rating: 3.206 (average of 5 ratings)

Genre: heartland rock

Quotable: “the record is arguably his most affecting” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

Album Tracks:

  1. When Jesus Left Birmingham
  2. Junior
  3. Human Wheels
  4. Beige to Beige
  5. Case 795 (The Family)
  6. Suzanne and the Jewels
  7. Sweet Evening Breeze
  8. What if I Came Knocking
  9. French Shoes
  10. To the River


sales in U.S. only 1 million
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 1 million


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 7
peak on U.K. album chart 37

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • What if I Came Knocking (7/24/93) #1 AR
  • Human Wheels (9/18/93) #48 US, #2 AR, #40 AC
  • When Jesus Left Birmingham (12/18/93) #35 AR
  • Junior (2/5/94) #35 AR

Human Wheels
John Mellencamp
“Following the stripped-down rock & roll of Whenever We Wanted, the somber Human Wheels comes as a bit of shock. Throughout his mid-‘80s peak, John Mellencamp infused his best work with despair, but he never has sounded as beaten and broken as he does on Human Wheels. It’s not just that the record sounds murky and bleak, but his singing is weary and the lyrics are filled with resignation. Consequently, Human Wheels isn’t a particularly easy listen, even though it doesn’t depart from his signature sound, but it is a rewarding one, and the record is arguably his most affecting” (Erlewine).

Review Source(s):

Related DMDB Links:

previous album: Whenever We Wanted (1991) next album: Dance Naked (1994)

Last updated January 20, 2009.