14 hit "Authority Song", which he said is "our version of "I Fought the Law'." During the recording of Uh-Huh, Mellencamp's backing band settled on the lineup it retained for the next several albums: Kenny Aronoff on drums and percussion, Larry Crane and Mike Wanchic on guitars, Toby Myers on bass and John Cascella on keyboards. Learning those opened the band's vision to try new things on my songs.
In 1988, Rolling Stone magazine called this version of Mellencamp's band "one of the most powerful and versatile live bands ever assembled." On the 1984 Uh-Huh Tour, Mellencamp opened his shows with cover versions of songs he admired growing up, including Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel", the Animals' "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", Lee Dorsey's "Ya Ya" and the Left Banke's "Pretty Ballerina". It wasn't let's go back and try to make this part fit into my song, but I wanted to capture the same feeling – the way those songs used to make you feel.
His songs document the joys and struggles of ordinary people seeking to make their way, and he has consistently brought the fresh air of common experience to the typically glamour-addled world of popular music." John Mellencamp is arguably the most important roots rocker of his generation.
John has made fiddles, hammer dulcimers, Autoharps and accordions lead rock instruments on a par with electric guitar, bass and drums, and he also brought what he calls 'a raw Appalachian' lyrical outlook to his songs.
At Gaff's request, Mellencamp moved to London, England, for nearly a year to record, promote and tour behind 1978's A Biography. The worst thing was that I could have gone on making records like that for hundreds of years.
The record wasn't released in the United States, but it yielded a No. 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.
"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.When Mellencamp was 18, he eloped with his pregnant girlfriend Priscilla Esterline.Mellencamp became a father in December 1970, only six months after he graduated from high school.His daughter, Michelle, later became a mother at age 19, making Mellencamp a grandfather at 37.Mellencamp attended Vincennes University, a two-year college in Vincennes, Indiana, starting in 1972.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.