Small town dating
De Fries insisted that Mellencamp's first album, Chestnut Street Incident, a collection of covers and a handful of original songs, be released under the stage name Johnny Cougar, insisting that the bumpy German name "Mellencamp" was too hard to market.
The record wasn't released in the United States, but it yielded a No. The worst thing was that I could have gone on making records like that for hundreds of years."To be real honest, there's three good songs on that record, and the rest is just sort of filler," Mellencamp told Creem Magazine of American Fool in 1984."It was too labored over, too thought about, and it wasn't organic enough. According to the February 1986 edition of Creem Magazine, Mellencamp wanted to incorporate the sound of classic '60s rock into Scarecrow, and he gave his band close to a hundred old singles to learn "almost mathematically verbatim" prior to recording the album.1 hit in Australia with "I Need a Lover." Riva Records added "I Need a Lover" to Mellencamp's next album released in the United States, 1979's John Cougar, where the song became a No. Pat Benatar recorded "I Need a Lover" on her debut album In the Heat of the Night. "The singles were stupid little pop songs,” he told Record Magazine in 1983. It wasn't like the title was made up – it wasn't supposed to be punky or cocky like some people thought. Me and the guys in the band thought we were finished, anyway. Hell, as long as you sell a few records and the record company isn't putting a lot of money into promotion, you're making money for 'em and that's all they care about. They thought I was going to turn into the next Neil Diamond." In 1982, Mellencamp released his breakthrough album, American Fool, which contained the singles "Hurts So Good", an uptempo rock tune that spent four weeks at No.In 1980, Mellencamp returned with the Steve Cropper-produced Nothin' Matters and What If It Did, which yielded two Top 40 singles – "This Time" (No. 2 and 16 weeks in the top 10, and "Jack & Diane", which was a No. A third single, "Hand to Hold on To", made it to No. "Hurts So Good" went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance at the 25th Grammys.
Mellencamp was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10, 2008.