John J Mellencamp (born October 7, 1951 in Seymour, Indiana), previously known as Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, and John Cougar Mellencamp, is an American singer-songwriter and musician.
Active since the 1980s, he is known for his unique brand of rock music, making heavy use of traditional instruments, with a focus on rural and country life. In 1985, Mellencamp, together with Willie Nelson and Neil Young, created Farm Aid. He also holds the record for the most tracks by a solo artist to hit number one on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart (seven), and has been nominated for 13 Grammies, successfully winning one.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10, 2008, and to the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 14, 2018.
- Chestnut Street Incident (1976)
- A Biography (1978)
- John Cougar (1979)
- Nothin' Matters and What If It Did (1980)
- American Fool (1982)
- The Kid Inside (1983)
- Uh-Huh (1983)
- Scarecrow (1985)
- The Lonesome Jubilee (1987)
- Big Daddy (1989)
- Whenever We Wanted (1991)
- Human Wheels (1993)
- Dance Naked (1994)
- Mr. Happy Go Lucky (1996)
- John Mellencamp (1998)
- Rough Harvest (1999)
- Cuttin' Heads (2001)
- Trouble No More (2003)
- Freedom's Road (2007)
- Life, Death, Love and Freedom (2008)
- No Better Than This (2010)
- Plain Spoken (2014)
- Sad Clowns & Hillbillies (2017)
- Other People's Stuff (2018)
- Strictly a One-Eyed Jack (2022)
- Orpheus Descending (2023)
"Little tropes about Jack and Diane...":
- Appropriated Appellation: Took the nickname "Little Bastard" from actor and fellow Indiana native James Dean's motorcycle.
- Character Title: "Jackie Brown"
- Cover Version: "Wild Night" with Meshell Ndegeocello was a cover of the Van Morrison original.
- His first album, Chestnut Street Incident, contains covers of Oh, Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison, Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley, Do You Believe In Magic by The Lovin' Spoonful, and Twentieth Century Fox by The Doors, with The Man Who Sold the World by David Bowie and Kicks by Paul Revere and the Raiders as bonus tracks.
- He contributed a cover of Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock" to the Honeymoon in Vegas soundtrack.
- Creator Provincialism: Played with in "Small Town." While he says that he's "got nothing against the big town," he still prefers his small town.
- Darker and Edgier: Human Wheels was one of his darkest and more introspective works.
- Name and Name: "Jack and Diane," of course.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Sung word for word in "Crumblin' Down."
- Precision F-Strike: From "Play Guitar" on Uh-Huh.:
- "Forget about all that macho shit
Learn how to play guitar"
- Protest Song: "Rain on the Scarecrow." John had seen first-hand how America's farmers were getting screwed by corporations, and he was an angry man when he wrote this song.
- Self-Titled Album: 1979's John Cougar and 1998's John Mellencamp both qualify.
- Sesquipedalian Smith: Inverted, and how.
- Shout-Out: "R.O.C.K. in the USA (A Salute to 60s Rock)" salutes Frankie Lymon, Bobby Fuller, Mitch Ryder, Jackie Wilson, The Shangri-Las, The Young Rascals, Martha Reeves and James Brown.
- The Something Song: "Authority Song".
- Spelling Song: "R.O.C.K. in the USA" spells "Rock" in the chorus.
- Stage Names: One of the most notable cases due to Executive Meddling. First Johnny Cougar (1976-1978), then John Cougar (1979-1982), then John Cougar Mellencamp for the rest of the decade before dropping the Cougar once and for all in the 90s.
- Take That!: "Pop Singer", his 1989 single off of Big Daddy, is this to the Executive Meddling he put up with early in his career.
- Three Chords and the Truth: From Uh-Huh onwards, his music became increasingly topical.
- Toplessness from the Back: The cab driver at the beginning of the video for "Wild Night," followed by Vapor Wear, since she puts on a white top without a bra.