John Cougar Mellencamp

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John Cougar Mellencamp Band

Indiana's John Mellencamp started his band, called Crepe Soul, at the age of 14 (around 1966).  After playing in several local bands and graduating from Vincennes University, Mellencamp decided to pursue a music career and subsequently moved to New York City.  It was Mellencamp's first manager, a guy named Tony DeFries (MCA), that suggested John drop his last name for "Cougar" for the release of his first album, Chestnut Street Incident (1977).  Initial sales were poor, and MCA dropped him from their label.  It was during this time that Mellencamp created his second album, The Kid Inside, which was not officially released until 1983.

Soon after, Mellencamp hooked up with a smaller label, Riva Records, that encouraged him to move to London to begin working on a new album.  Mellencamp's second official release, A Biography, was not released in the USA, but produced a hit song in Australia ("I Need a Lover").  Because of the song's success, Riva Records added it to Mellencamp's 1979 USA release, John Cougar, and it charted at no. 28 on Billboard Top 100.  In 1980, John Cougar released Nothin' Matters and What if I Did.  Although Mellencamp publicly has denounced this album as being too popish, it did feature two hit songs:   "This Time" and "Ain't Even Done with the Night".  It was Mellecamp's 1982 release, American Fool, that he began to meet with the success he was looking for.  You may remember the hit songs "Hurts So Good", "Jack and Diane", and "Hand to Hold On To" from this album.

By 1983, Mellencamp had earned enough clout with the record company to add his last name to John Cougar, and he began producing as John Cougar Mellencamp.  Under this longer name, Mellencamp released Uh-Huh, an album that brought us the hit songs "Pink Houses", "Authority Song", and "Crumblin' Down".  Mellecamp's 1985 release, Scarecrow, featured the hit songs "Lonely Ol' Night", "Small Town", "Rain on the Scarecrow", "Rumblestreet", and "R.O.C.K. in the USA".  It was after this 1985 release that Mellencamp became involved in Farm Aid.  Other hit songs from Mellencamp in the 1980's were "Paper in Fire", "Cherry Bomb", and "Check it Out" from 1987's The Lonesome Jubilee, and "Pop Singer" from 1989's Big Daddy.

By 1991, Mellencamp dropped "Cougar" from his stage name, and further releases continued producing hits ("Get a Leg Up", "Again Tonight", "Human Wheels", "Wild Night", "Key West Intermezzo", "Just Another Day").  Since his hey day, Mellencamp has continued to be very busy, both in the studio and on stage.  He has also dabbled in acting and playwriting.  At the time of this writing, the John Cougar Mellencamp Discography was as follows:

Listen for free or download any John Mellencamp track for just 12 cents per song!

  • 1976: Chestnut Street Incident
  • 1978: A Biography
  • 1979: John Cougar
  • 1980: Nothin' Matters and What If I Did
  • 1982: American Fool
  • 1983: The Kid Inside
  • 1983: Uh-Huh
  • 1985: Scarecrow
  • 1987: The Lonesome Jubilee
  • 1989: Big Daddy
  • 1991: Whenever We Wanted
  • 1993: Human Wheels
  • 1994: Dance Naked
  • 1996: Mr. Happy Go Lucky
  • 1997: The Best That I Could Do 1978-1988
  • 1998: John Mellencamp
  • 1999: Rough Harvest
  • 2001: Cuttin' Heads
  • 2003: Trouble No More
  • 2004: Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits
  • 2007: Freedom's Road
  • 2007: 20th Century Masters: The Best of John Mellencamp
  • 2008: Life, Death, Love and Freedom
  • 2009: Life, Death, LIVE and Freedom
  • 2010: No Better Than This
  • 2010: On the Rural Route 7609