John Mellencamp (born October 7, 1951) is a successful rock singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known for a series of hit songs in the 1980s. He was born and raised in Seymour, Indiana, but ran away to New York City at the age of 17 to start a music career.
After adopting the stage name of Johnny Cougar, which he later claimed was his agent's decision done without his knowledge, he recorded five albums on two record labels, all of them failing commercially. But in 1982, he released "American Fool", which quickly netted him nationwide success with hits like "Jack and Diane", "Hurts So Good", and "Hand to Hold Onto".
In 1983, he released "Uh Huh", and switched to the stage name John Cougar Mellencamp. The album featured the hit "Pink Houses". After several more successful albums, he changed back to John Mellencamp by 1991.
Mellencamp lives in Bloomington, with his wife Elaine Irwin Mellencamp and children, and is very involved with the local community. He provided the lead gift for the John Mellencamp Pavillion for IU Football practice and team development. The Pavillion also provides space for activities such as the Alumni Luncheon during the IU Homecoming events. He has worked with Kenny Aronoff, an IU School of Music alumnus, on many of his projects.