John Mellencamp is born in Seymour, Indiana.
Barely a teenager, John Mellencamp performs R&B and rock and roll material with a cover band called Crepe Soul
John Mellencamp signs with MainMan, David Bowie’s management company. Rechristened “Johnny Cougar,” his debut album, Chestnut Street Incident, is released.
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.
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).
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”).
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).
John Cougar wins Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male, for “Hurts So Good” (from American Fool) at the 25th annual Grammy Awards.
The first Farm Aid Concert – organized by John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson and Neil Young – is held in Champaign, Illinois.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
John Cougar Mellencamp’s American Fool is certified 5x platinum (5 million copies sold) by the RIAA.
Mr. Happy Go Lucky, into which John Mellencamp incorporated hip-hop sounds and production techniques, debuts at #9.
John Mellencamp’s first hits compilation, The Best That I Could Do, 1978-1988, is released.
Having signed to Columbia Records, John Mellencamp releases his self-titled first album for the label.
John Mellencamp releases Cuttin’ Heads, his first album of the new millennium. It contains “Peaceful World,” a duet with India.Arie.
Scarecrow, by John Mellencamp, is certified 5x platinum (5 million copies sold) by the RIAA.
The Best That I Could Do
Trouble No More, an album of blues covers and originals by John Mellencamp, is released.
Words & Music
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.
John Mellencamp is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 23rd annual induction dinner. Billy Joel is his presenter.