Mellencamp Turns 60 Today

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(Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)

(Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)

Happy 60th Birthday to Indiana’s favorite son, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]John Mellencamp[/lastfm]!!

And to celebrate, Jack FM will be suckin’ on a chili dog outside the Tastee Freeze.

With over 40 million albums sold and 22 Top 40 hits to his credit, it’s easy to see why John Mellencamp is one of America’s music heroes.

But success didn’t happen overnight for the Seymour, Indiana native.  After playing in several local bands and working as a telephone installer, John decided to pursue music full-time.  Under the stage name “Johnny Cougar,” he released his debut album, Chestnut Street Incident, in 1976.  The album was a commercial flop, selling only 12,000 copies.

Six years and five albums later, John Mellencamp finally broke through with American Fool.  Released in July 1982, the album was a huge success, peaking at #1 on the Billboard 200 and selling over five million copies in the U.S. American Fool produced three hit singles: the Grammy-winning “Hurts So Good,” “Hand to Hold On To” and “Jack & Diane.”  The latter landed at #1 on the charts and stayed in the top spot for four weeks, becoming John’s biggest and best-known song of his career.

Uh-Huh followed in 1983 and was another commercial hit for the heartland rocker.  That album gave John three more Top 20 singles with “Crumblin’ Down,” “Authority Song” and “Pink Houses.”

In 1985, John Mellencamp released his eighth album, Scarecrow.  An homage to the classic ’60s rock he grew up on, the album peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 and was the first to be recorded at John’s own studio in Belmont, Indiana.  Scarecrow spawned five Top 40 hits, including “Lonely Ol’ Night,” “Small Town” and Jack’s Song of the Day, “Rain on the Scarecrow.”  Also in ’85, John, along with [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Willie Nelson[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Neil Young[/lastfm], helped organize Farm Aid, a concert to benefit the country’s struggling farmers.  To date, Farm Aid has raised over $39 million.

In the decades since, John has continued impacting the world with his music.  In 2008, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and last year he released his 21st studio album, No Better Than This.  It peaked at #10 on the charts, becoming his tenth Top 10 album.

On October 25th, John Mellencamp kicks off the fall leg of his No Better Than This tour in Boston.

Check out this performance of “Pink Houses” from Farm Aid’s 25th Anniversary concert.  Does anyone remember when MTV gave away an actual pink house?  Jack FM sent in thousands of postcards to try and win it.

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