Saturday, June 27, 2009

John Mellencamp - The Cougar Stays Fierce‏

Mellencamp sept2000Image via Wikipedia

by Brent Warnken

Popular music can often draw in singing puppets that are willing to lend their voices to just about anything put in front of them. Thankfully, there are also artists like John Cougar Mellencamp, who understands the true core of pop, country, folk and rock music. His virtually unparalleled grasp on what makes good music has given him a loyal fan base that has stayed with him for decades along with adding new fans every year.

He will go down in history as one of rock's legends, and even with his reputation intact, Mellencamp is still pushing the boundaries of what popular music can do. Showing he can do more than pen top lyrics, Mellencamp has been enlisted to write the foreword for a book about Bob Seger, who was an early influence on Mellencamp. The book, called Travelin' Man, will be released in October.

An even more innovative project for Mellencamp is a collaboration with horror writer Stephen King. The two created a musical called Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, which started CD/book package production on June 15. The show was initially going to be released in the spring of 2009, but it has been pushed back to perfect the script. The chilling story is about an American Family who has to come to grips with a grizzly truth.

This summer will be even busier for Mellencamp as he is set to join two other legends, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, on a highly-anticipated tour. Be there yourself by getting John Mellencamp tickets online.

John Mellencamp was born in Seymour, Indiana in 1951, and he still chooses to live in the same state he grew up in. Even though he is a legend now, his career almost didn't make it off the ground. Mellencamp was interested in music from a young age, forming a band at 14. He had a wild streak, however, and eloped with a pregnant girlfriend at the age when most kids were graduating high school. He started taking any job he could to support his family, but he still kept working on his music.

Mellencamp started working with Tony DeFries in 1976, who had it in mind to turn Mellencamp into a overly-polished young star. He was billed as John Cougar, but his first releases didn't draw very much interest, pushing him to drop the ill-fitting image and regroup.

In 1979, Mellencamp finally found a footing with "I Need a Lover." Three years later, he released the album American Fool, which rocketed him to legendary status. That album featured the singles "Hurts So Good" and "Jack & Diane," both of which still get radio play today. His popularity continued throughout the 1980s with singles like "Pink Houses," "Small Town" and "Cherry Bomb."

The 1990s saw a slow in releases as Mellencamp also tried his hand at directing and starring in movies. His albums continue to reach high on the charts even today, like 2008's Life Death Love and Freedom, which reached the Top 10. His upcoming tour and musical will mark just another chapter in this storied musician's tale.

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