Born October 7, 1951 in Seymour, Indiana, John Mellencamp fell in love with music at an early age and was gigging in local bars and fronting a soul band by the time he was 14. His professional music career began in earnest in 1976 when MCA Records released his first album, The Chestnut Street Incident. His manager dubbed him Johnny Cougar out of his belief that nobody would buy a record by anybody named Mellencamp. John protested but was overruled -and eventually, of course, reclaimed his birth name as his public name.
After releasing a few albums, he broke out in 1979 with his first hit, -I Need A Lover- In 1982 his fifth album American Fool was the year´s best-selling album on the strength of two huge hits, -Hurts So Good,- and the number 1 single -Jack & Diane,-
The albums that followed in the 80´s, Uh-Huh, Scarecrow, Lonesome Jubilee, and Big Daddy, were released under the name John Cougar Mellencamp. Hit singles during this period included -Crumblin Down,- -The Authority Song,- -Small Town,- -Rain On The Scarecrow,- -Lonely Ol Night,- --R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.,- -Paper In Fire,- -Check It Out,- -Cherry Bomb,- -Pop Singer,- and -Jackie Brown.- Mellencamp took the music on the road with a band that many considered the best in the business, playing approximately 1,000 shows around the globe during decade.
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