John Mellencamp's recording career began as Johnny Cougar in the mid-'70s, but it wasn't until his fifth album -- 1982's No. 1 'American Fool' -- that he became a household name (and one that still was making records under his stage moniker). By 1983's 'Uh-Huh,' the Indiana-born singer-songwriter had enough muscle to get his real name on his records, though it wouldn't be until 1991's 'Whenever We Wanted' that the "Cougar" would be permanently dropped. The change in names coincided with an artistic growth that culminated in 1985's 'Scarecrow' and 1987's 'The Lonesome Jubilee,' two of the decade's strongest albums of heartland rock. In addition to releasing a series of albums over the years, Mellencamp directed and starred in the 1992 movie 'Falling From Grace' and cowrote the musical 'Ghost Brothers of Darkland County' with Stephen King in 2012.
Why Doctors Once Cut Off John Mellencamp’s Head
Lucky to survive childhood illness, he says he hopes to reach 80 years old.
Ann Wilson Recalls Heart's 'Painful' Tour With John Mellencamp
Acts were heading in two different directions when they hit the road together in 1982.
40 Years Ago: John Cougar Mellencamp Gets Defiant on 'Uh-Huh'
His first five records had been recorded under heavy meddling.
Why John Mellencamp Doesn't Think Rappers Should Use the N-Word
"You guys are selling out what the people stood up for and fought for, and you're making money off of it selling it to a bunch of white kids?"
How John Mellencamp Celebrated His Roots With 'Small Town'
Top 10 'Scarecrow' hit was born out of his frustrations with a typewriter.
John Mellencamp, 'Orpheus Descending': Album Review
Determination and hope from the best of his turn-of-the-2010s material return.
John Mellencamp Tells Fans 'Shut the F--- Up' or He'll End Show
"If I wanted to play in this type of drunken environment, I'd play outside or I'd play in an arena," he told Cleveland crowd.
John Mellencamp Mourns Homeless Crisis in 'The Eyes of Portland'
Topical single arrives ahead of new album 'Orpheus Descending,' out June 2.
John Mellencamp Condemns Gun Violence in New Single 'Hey God'
Impassioned song opens his upcoming album 'Orpheus Descending,' out on June 25.