Personnel: John Cougar (vocals, acoustic guitar, background vocals); John Cougar; Larry Crane (vocals, guitar); Robert Frank (bass guitar); Andy Mackay (saxophone); Brian BecVar (keyboards); Tom Knowles (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Bob Ludwig.
Recording information: Basing Street Studios, Londond, England (1977-1978); Wessex Studios, London, England (1977-1978).
Photographer: Dave Steen.
John Mellencamp's third album, A BIOGRAPHY, was his first record of all-original material, and showed the artist--then known as Johnny Cougar--gaining momentum as a songwriter and performer. Though it does not display the fully developed rootsy, poppy folk-rock that would bring Cougar great success in the 1980s, A BIOGRAPHY works the vein of passionate rock purveyed by Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger, adding elements of Stonesy hard rock and singer/songwriter melodicism. (The latter quality is particularly notable on the album's ballads "Taxi Dancer" and "Alley of the Angels.")
A BIOGRAPHY contains Cougar's first hit, the punchy "I Need a Lover" (which Pat Benatar later covered; her version was also a Top 40 hit). With its piano-driven verses, shifting dynamics, twin lead guitars, layered production, and immediately memorable chorus, the song became a staple of rock radio, and hinted at Cougar's talent with pop anthems (a skill he would continue to refine through the '80s). The rest of the album shows Cougar finding his feet as a songwriter, yet singing with plenty of conviction while backed by a crack band. The 2005 reissue boasts remastered sound and the UK single version of "I Need a Lover."