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.
Hear Jake Owen's Mellencamp-Inspired 'I Was Jack, You Were Diane'
John Mellencamp's music has intersected with the country world a number of times over the years.
John Mellencamp's 'Plain Spoken' Concert Film Headed to Netflix
'Plain Spoken: From the Chicago Theater' was recorded in October 2016 during the final leg of John Mellencamp's 120-date Plain Spoken Tour.
John Mellencamp Buys $2.3 Million 'Live-Work Space' in Manhattan
It isn't a pink house and it certainly isn't in a small town, but John Mellencamp has added to his real estate portfolio by spending $2.3 million on a "stylishly renovated" space in Manhattan.
John Mellencamp's Daughter Joins 'Real Housewives'
John Mellencamp's daughter Teddi has joined the cast of 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.'
‘Jack and Diane’ Hit No. 1, But Did John Mellencamp Even Like It?
It was the “little ditty” that became a smash, and caused some huge headaches along the way.
How 'Lonesome Jubilee' Became John Mellencamp's Most Focused LP
Spinning out two Top 10 hits, this triple-platinum album became his most unified thematic and sonic vision.
Farm Aid 2017 Headliners Include Neil Young, John Mellencamp and More
Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews will return to perform for the long-running event's 2017 edition.
Surprise! Izzy Stradlin Turns Up on John Mellencamp's New Album
This actually isn't the first time Izzy Stradlin has sat in with John Mellencamp, who shares his Indiana lineage.
You Can Listen to John Mellencamp's New 'Sad Clowns and Hillbillies' Album Now
John Mellencamp's new album comes out on Friday, but you can listen to the entire thing right now.