Tickets to John Mellencamp's Concert Tour
See John Mellencamp Live in Concert
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About John Mellencamp
From his early days as Johnny Cougar to his current residence in the skin of John Mellencamp, the heartland rocker from Indiana is, perhaps, one of the most authentic, populist-minded artists of his generation.
The Indiana native has been playing in bands since he was 14. After graduating from Vincennes University in 1974 only got him so far as a job installing telephones, Mellencamp decided to give music a go professionally.
He spent a couple of years shuttling between Indiana and New York City hoping to catch an important someone's ear. He did and it led to his humble beginnings as Johnny Cougar – his debut album, Chestnut Street Incident, sold only 12,000 copies and his second effort was never released. After being dropped from MCA Records in 1977.
With a new manager and a small label on his side, John moved to London for a year to support his 1978 record, A Biography. Though it wasn't released in the U.S., one single from the collection, "I Need a Lover," became a hit in Australia and was added to his next American offering, 1979's John Cougar. The single climbed to number 28 on the charts and claimed a spot on Pat Benatar's debut record, as well.
His follow-up effort landed two tracks in the Top 40, but it was 1980's American Fool that broke John Cougar through the mainstream on the strength of “Hurts So Good” and “Jack & Diane.” The former cut won John a Grammy and the latter became his first chart-topper.
For 1983's Uh-Huh, the artist started using the moniker of John Cougar Mellencamp. The record yielded three successful cuts - "Pink Houses," "Crumblin' Down," and "Authority Song." Scarecrow followed in 1985 and included five Top 40 singles in "Lonely Ol' Night," "Small Town," "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.," "Rain on the Scarecrow," and "Rumbleseat." This was also the year that Mellencamp founded Farm Aid alongside Willie Nelson and Neil Young.
In 1987, The Lonesome Jubilee kept the momentum going, though it only resulted in three Top 40 tracks. The record has been cited as the project that “defined his now signature sound: a rousing, crystalline mix of acoustic and electric guitars, Appalachian fiddle, and gospel-style backing vocals, anchored by a crisp, bare-knuckle drumbeat and completed by his own velveteen rasp.”
After the release of 1989's Big Daddy, Mellencamp dropped the Cougar from his name. He also decided against touring in support of the release. As the 1990s rolled around, John issued Whenever We Wanted (1991), Human Wheels (1993), and Dance Naked (1994). Each was steeped in true rock and roll and did just fine on the charts.
Come 1996, Mellencamp decided to go experimental with Mr. Happy Go Lucky. Produced by Junior Vasquez, the album incorporates loops and programs. The single "Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)" made it up to number 14 on the Billboard chart.
By the end of the decade, Mellencamp was continuing to venture further outside his previously established comfort zone. In the early 2000s, he was even collaborating with folks as varied as Chuck D., Trisha Yearwood, and India.Arie. While one record would have an Eastern vibe, another would be smothered in blues.
In 2004, John issued the two-disc Words & Music: John Mellencamp's Greatest Hits and followed that in 2005 by touring with Donovan and John Fogerty. Freedom's Road came in 2007. Featuring the instantly iconic anthem “Our Country,” the album made it to number five on the charts.
Picking up the release pace, Life, Death, Love and Freedom dropped in 2008 and is, by Mellencamp's estimation "The best record I've ever made." An eight-song live set -- Life, Death, Live and Freedom – followed in 2009 along with a tour that found Mellencamp alongside Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. He recorded 2010's No Better Than This while on the road.
Types of Seating for the John Mellencamp Tour
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