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John Cougar Mellencamp

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John Cougar Mellencamp (born October 7, 1951) is an American singer and songwriter, known for a series of 1980s hits, including "Jack and Diane". As a child, Mellencamp suffered from spina bifida and had had a troubled childhood marked by several brushes with the law. He began performing with a band at eighteen, and eloped with his pregnant girlfriend at seventeen. His debut recording was Chestnut Street Incident[?], a collection of covers. Mellencamp was outraged upon learning that his manager, Tony DeFries[?], had billed him as Johnny Cougar. The album was a failure, and Mellencamp lost his contract with MCA Records.

He signed to Riva Records[?] to release 1978's A Biography[?] (see 1978 in music). His breakthrough album was American Fool[?] in 1982 (see 1982 in music). The songs "Hurt So Good" and "Jack and Diane" sent the album to the top of the charts. The follow-up, Uh-Huh[?], was just as successful. Mellencamp's critical success had always been lacking. He rectified this in some quarters with Scarecrow[?] in 1985 (1985 in music). Scarecrows lyrics were socially aware, and he soon helped organize Farm Aid[?] with Willie Nelson. He also made waves by refusing to allow alcohol or tobacco companies to sponsor his tours.

1987's The Lonesome Jubilee[?] was departure from his earlier material; it incorporated country and folk influences (see 1987 in music). It generated several more singles, including "Paper in Fire" and "Cherry Bomb". By 1993's (1993 in music) Human Wheels[?], Mellencamp's critical reception was solid and Dance Naked[?] (1994 in music) spawned his biggest hit in years, "Wild Night" (a with Me'Shell NdegeOcello[?], cover of Van Morrison).

After a 1994 heart attack, Mellencamp returned with Mr. Happy Go Lucky[?] which blended heavier dance rythms with his now signature folk-rock style with the aid of dance producer Junior Vasquez[?].

Issued a day before his 47th birthday in 1998 (1998 in music). , his self-titled debut for Columbia Records included the songs "Your Life is Now" and "I'm Not Running Anymore".

In 1999 Mellencamp covered his own tunes as well as those by Bob Dylan and the Drifters for his album "Rough Harvest[?]," one of two albums he owed Mercury Records[?] to fulfill his contract (the other was "The Best That I Could Do[?]", a best-of collection) (1999 in music).

2001 (2001 in music) found Mellencamp teaming up with artists such Chuck D and India.Arie[?] to deliver a more laid back record with "Cuttin' Heads[?]", spawning the single "Peaceful World". "Trouble No More[?]" followed in mid-2003 (2003 in music). , a quickly recorded collection of rootsy bluesy covers of artists such as Robert Joohnson[?] and Lucinda Williams[?].

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