He eventually moved to New York City to start his profession. His first record was launched in 1976, but did not sell many copies. His next attempt, had two successful singles in 1980. His largest career breakthrough came in 1982 using the chart-topping record American Fool.
A pop sense in the 1980s, John Mellencamp has evolved into among rock’s most enduring acts. He regularly give voice to the American small town expertise in his music—something he understands fairly nicely from his youth in Seymour.
One of five kids, Mellencamp acquired an interest in music early on. He began playing in a cover band called Crepe Soul in his early adolescents. Having a rebellious streak, Mellencamp hung out with his buddies as well as partied instead of paying much attention to his education. His dad, an executive having a local electronics company, attempted to move him to pursue sports and his studies with little chance. In the age of 18, Mellencamp eloped with his pregnant 23-year old girlfriend Priscilla Esterline. The couple shortly welcomed a daughter, Michelle.
Mellencamp took classes in a community college and worked several jobs before returning to his music. He recorded several demos of his tunes and eventually moved to Nyc to start his profession. In 1976, he got a manager, Tony DeFries, who worked with the likes of David Bowie. DeFries made a decision to shift Mellencamp’s last name to Cougar, considering that it make him more appealing to the record-buying public. Mellencamp wasn’t pleased with this particular choice and would afterwards return to his birth name.
The first Johnny Cougar record, Chestnut Street Incident, was launched by MCA in 1976, but did not sell many copies. Derived by critics, Mellencamp was viewed by some as a lesser version of Bruce Springsteen or Bob Seger. MCA never released his second record and dropped him from the label. Around now, Mellencamp also lost his supervisor.
Mellencamp’s fortunes soon enhanced.
While his career was beginning to boom, Mellencamp was going through some changes in his private life.
Mellencamp’s largest career breakthrough came in 1982 using the chart-topping record American Fool. His ode to some young couple in central America, “Jack and Diane,” reached the very top of the pop charts. For “Hurts So Good,” another hit in the record, Mellencamp won the Grammy Award for The Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male. The videos for both songs got lots of play on MTV, which further fostered Mellencamp’s growing popularity.
The next year, Mellencamp had another hit with Uh Huh (1983). The record had three successful singles, “Crumblin’ Down,” “Pink Houses,” and “Authority Song.” After years of being panned by critics, Mellencamp began to win them around with such records as Scarecrow (1985). This issue was particularly close to his heart, having been among the co founders of Farm Aid, an organization focused on supporting American family farms. Working with Willie Nelson and Neil Young, Mellencamp helped coordinate the very first Farm Aid concert in 1985 and has worked actively on the charity’s benefit ever since.
Mellencamp continued to grow as an artist with his next record, The Lonesome Jubilee (1987), which featured some experiment having a more folk rock sound. Three tracks in the record—“Paper in Fire,” “Cherry Bomb,” and “Check It Out”—reached the top 20 of the pop charts. During the forthcoming years, his records stayed powerful sellers, however he’d fewer singles that made it onto the graphs. Big Daddy (1989) had the self-satirizing hit “Pop Singer” while Whenever We Wanted (1991) included “Get a Leg Up.” Throughout the filming, he met model Elaine Irwin whom he began dating. The couple wed in 1992.
He starred as a country music vocalist in the drama Falling from Grace (1992), which he also directed. The screenplay was written by renowned western novelist Larry McMurtry.
With Dance Naked (1994), Mellencamp made a triumphal return to the pop singles charts using a duet with Meshell Ndegocello. The exact same year, Mellencamp needed to cancel his tour strategies after suffering a heart attack. This health catastrophe led to some changes in his lifestyle. Mellencamp cut back on his tour program and began running and doing weight training.
He later experimented against the blues for 2003’s Trouble No More.
In 2008, he found his music caught up in the middle of the election year politics. A well known Democratic supporter, Mellencamp had his representatives request Republican nominee John McCain to stop playing his tunes “Our Country” and “Pink Houses” during his rallies, based on People magazine.
His 2008 record, Life, Death, Love and Freedom, premiered to stellar reviews as well as a solid showing on the record charts.
In September 1992, Mellencamp wed model Elaine Irwin, with whom he had two sons: Hud and Speck. After almost 18 years of union, in 2010, the couple announced they were breaking up. Their divorce was finalized in August 2011.
Mellencamp continues to be dating actress Meg Ryan since early 2011.