John J. Mellencamp  born October 7, , previously known as Johnny Cougar , John Cougar , and John Cougar Mellencamp , is an American musician, singer-songwriter, painter, actor, and film director. He is known for his catchy, populist brand of heartland rock , which emphasizes traditional instrumentation.
Born October 7, in Seymour, Indiana, John Mellencamp fell in love with music at an early age and was gigging in local bars and fronting a soul band by the time he was His manager dubbed him Johnny Cougar out of his belief that nobody would buy a record by anybody named Mellencamp. John protested but was overruled and eventually, of course, reclaimed his birth name as his public name. In The U. In , John's concern for the plight of the American farmer, which had been voiced in the Scarecrow album, brought him together with Willie Nelson and Neil Young in launching Farm Aid.
John Mellencamp lives in a lakefront mansion at the edge of a wooded acre estate outside Bloomington, Indiana. It has felt bigger since he split with his wife, Elaine Irwin, in , and his two youngest children, Hud, 19, and Speck, 18, took off for college. I walk in now sometimes and go, 'Who loves their dad? Moving to New York to be with his girlfriend, Meg Ryan, would solve the empty-nest problem, but Mellencamp says that's out of the question. I can't see the suffering.
Elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the following year, he continues to release new material and tour regularly. John Mellencamp was born on October 7, , in Seymour, Indiana. He often give voice to the American small-town experience in his music—something he knows quite well from his childhood in Seymour. Mellencamp, who recovered from neonatal surgery to correct a spinal defect, developed an early interest in music. He started playing in a cover band called Crepe Soul in his early teens. With a rebellious streak, Mellencamp hung out with his friends and partied instead of paying much attention to his schooling. His disciplinarian father, an executive with a local electronics firm, tried to motivate him to pursue athletics and his studies, with little luck. At the age of 18, Mellencamp eloped with his pregnant year-old girlfriend, Priscilla Esterline. The couple soon welcomed a daughter, Michelle.