7 October 1951, Seymour, Indiana, USA. Mellencamp survived an early phase as a glam-rocker to become one of Americas most successful mainstream rock singers of the past three decades.
Mellencamp played in local band Trash with guitarist Larry Crane, who remained with the singer throughout the 80s. In 1976, David Bowies manager Tony DeFries signed him to a recording contract with MainMan Management. Mellencamps name was changed to Johnny Cougar and he was given a James Dean-style image. The rush-released Chestnut Street Incident (1976), comprised mainly of cover versions, did not chart. He left MainMan and moved back to Indiana, formed the Zone and recorded 1977s self-pennedThe Kid Inside. Shortly afterwards he signed to Riva Records, owned by Rod Stewarts manager Billy Gaff who presented the singer as the next Bruce Springsteen. His first chart action came courtesy ofJohn Cougar, which included the US Top 30...
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