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John Mellencamp

1951

John Mellencamp is born in Seymour, Indiana.

1965

Barely a teenager, John Mellencamp performs R&B and rock and roll material with a cover band called Crepe Soul

1976

John Mellencamp signs with MainMan, David Bowie’s management company. Rechristened “Johnny Cougar,” his debut album, Chestnut Street Incident, is released.

1979

John Cougar enters the charts. It contains John Cougar Mellencamp’s first hit, “I Need a Lover” (#28), which Pat Benatar covers on her debut album, In the Heat of the Night.

1980

Nothing Matters and What If It Did, by John Cougar – is released. Produced by Steve Cropper, from Booker T. and the M.G.’s, it yields the hits, “This Time” (#27) and “Ain’t Even Done With the Night” (#17).

1982

John Cougar has the #1 album (American Fool), #1 single (“Jack & Diane”), and a Top Ten single (“Hurts So Good”). This is a feat unmatched since November 16, 1974, when John Lennon had the #1 album (Walls and Bridges), #1 single (“Whatever Gets You Through the Night”) and a Top Ten single (#9 Dream”).

1983

John Cougar Mellencamp releases Uh-Huh, a critical and popular favorite that contains the hits “Crumblin’ Down” (#9), “Pink Houses” (#8) and “Authority Song” (#15).

1983

John Cougar wins Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male, for “Hurts So Good” (from American Fool) at the 25th annual Grammy Awards.

1985

The first Farm Aid Concert – organized by John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson and Neil Young – is held in Champaign, Illinois.

1986

John Cougar Mellencamp’s Scarecrow peaks at #2 on the album chart. A classic proto-Americana album, it includes “Small Town” (#6),“R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” (#2), “Rain on the Scarecrow” (#21) and “Rumbleseat” (#28).

1987

John Cougar Mellencamp’s The Lonesome Jubilee is released. It will become his fourth Top Ten album in a row (peaking at #6). It will remain in the Top Ten for a half year and launch the hits “Paper in Fire” (#9), “Cherry Bomb” (#8) and “Check It Out” (#14).

1989

Big Daddy, by John Cougar Mellencamp’s, is released. It will be his fifth consecutive Top Ten album, reaching #7. The acerbic, anti-celebrity “Pop Singer” (#15) is the leadoff single.

1992

The film Falling from Grace, starring John Mellencamp – and cowritten by Mellencamp and Larry McMurtry – is released. Soundtrack contributors include Mellencamp, Joe Ely, John Prine, Dwight Yoakam, Nanci Griffith and James McMurtry.

1992

Whatever We Wanted, John Cougar Mellencamp’s first self-produced album, is released. It yields the hit “Get a Leg Up” (#14), at whose video shoot Mellencamp meets his third wife, model Elaine Irwin.

1993

John Mellencamp’s cover of Van Morrison’s “Wild Night,” featuring Me’Shell Ndegéocello on bass and vocals, reaches #3. His biggest hit since 1986, it is taken from his latest album, Dance Naked.

1994

Human Wheels, by Mellencamp, debuts at #7 on Billboard’s album chart. The title track will just miss the Top Forty, making it Mellencamp’s first album without a hit since his 1976 debut.

1996

John Cougar Mellencamp’s American Fool is certified 5x platinum (5 million copies sold) by the RIAA.

1996

Mr. Happy Go Lucky, into which John Mellencamp incorporated hip-hop sounds and production techniques, debuts at #9.

1997

John Mellencamp’s first hits compilation, The Best That I Could Do, 1978-1988, is released.

1998

Having signed to Columbia Records, John Mellencamp releases his self-titled first album for the label.

2001

John Mellencamp releases Cuttin’ Heads, his first album of the new millennium. It contains “Peaceful World,” a duet with India.Arie.

2001

Scarecrow, by John Mellencamp, is certified 5x platinum (5 million copies sold) by the RIAA.

2002

The Best That I Could Do

2003

Trouble No More, an album of blues covers and originals by John Mellencamp, is released.

2004

Words & Music

2007

Freedom’s Road, John Mellencamp’s first album of original material in five years, is released. It contains “Our Country,” a Top Five hit that receives a Grammy Nomination for Best Solo Rock Song.

2008

John Mellencamp is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 23rd annual induction dinner. Billy Joel is his presenter.