Early life[ edit ] Mellencamp is of German ancestry. He was born with spina bifidafor which he had corrective surgery as an infant. Mellencamp was unaware of the surgery as well as the life-threatening condition of his infancy until at the age of 12, when a classmate asked him about the scar on the back of his neck.
Only then did his parents tell him about his birth defect and that doctors had told his parents they did not expect him to survive. When Mellencamp was 18, he eloped with his pregnant girlfriend Priscilla Esterline. Mellencamp became a father in Decemberonly six months after he graduated from high school. His daughter, Michelle, later became a mother at age 19, making Mellencamp a grandfather at Mellencamp attended Vincennes Universitya two-year college in Vincennes, Indianastarting in During this time he used drugs and alcohol, stating in a Rolling Stone interview, "When I was high on pot, it affected me so drastically that when I was in college there were times when I wouldn't get off the couch.
I would lie there, listening to Roxy Musicright next to the record player so I wouldn't have to get up to flip the record over. I'd listen to this record, that record. There would be four or five days like that when I would be completely gone. At this time, Mellencamp, who had given up drugs and alcohol before graduating from Vincennes University, decided to pursue a career in music and traveled to New York City in an attempt to land a record contract.
Mellencamp reluctantly agreed, but the album was a commercial failure, selling only 12, copies. Mellencamp confessed in a interview: I went to New York and everybody said, 'You sound like a hillbilly.
I was totally unaware of it until it showed up on the album jacket. When I objected to it, he said, 'Well, either you're going to go for it, or we're not going to put the record out.
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At Gaff's request, Mellencamp moved to London, England, for nearly a year to record, promote and tour behind 's A Biography. The record wasn't released in the United States, but it yielded a No. It wasn't like the title was made up — it wasn't supposed to be punky or cocky like some people thought.
Toward the end, I didn't even go to the studio. Me and the guys in the band thought we were finished, anyway. It was the most expensive record I ever made. The worst thing was that I could have gone on making records like that for hundreds of years. 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.
PolyGram loved Nothin' Matters. They thought I was going to turn into the next Neil Diamond. A third single, "Hand to Hold on To", made it to No. The record company thought it would bomb, but I think the reason it took off was — not that the songs were better than my others — but people liked the sound of it, the 'bam-bam-bam' drums.
It was a different sound. InRolling Stone magazine called this version of Mellencamp's band "one of the most powerful and versatile live bands ever assembled.
Since college, Mellencamp, with the exception of his continuing addiction to nicotine, has lived a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle. Inwhen asked about his views on drugs, he told Bill Holdship of Creem magazine, "If you want to stick needles in your arms, go ahead and fucking do it.
You're the one that's going to pay the consequences. I don't think it's a good idea, and I sure don't advocate it, but I'm not going to judge people. Hell, if that was the case, you wouldn't like anyone in the music business because everyone's blowing cocaine. A Salute to '60s Rock " No.
According to the February edition of Creem Magazine, Mellencamp wanted to incorporate the sound of classic '60s rock into Scarecrow, and he gave his band close to a hundred old singles to learn "almost mathematically verbatim" prior to recording the album. Take an old Rascals song for example — there's everything from marching band beats to soul music to country sounds in one song.
Learning those opened the band's vision to try new things on my songs. 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. After a while, we didn't even have to talk about it anymore. If you listen to the lead Larry [Crane] plays on 'Face of the Nation,' he never would have played that 'cause he didn't really know who the Animals were.
He's young, and he grew up listening to Grand Funk Railroad. You hear it, and it's like 'where did that come from? Mellencamp sees Scarecrow as the start of the alternative country genre: Prior to the —86 Scarecrow Tour, during which he covered some of the same s rock and soul songs he and his band rehearsed prior to the recording of Scarecrow, Mellencamp added fiddle player Lisa Germano to his band. Germano would remain in Mellencamp's band untilwhen she left to pursue a solo career.
We had a very distinct vision of what should be happening here. At one point, The Lonesome Jubilee was supposed to be a double album, but at least 10 of the songs I'd written just didn't stick together with the idea and the sound we had in mind. So I just put those songs on a shelf, and cut it back down to a single record. Now, in the past, it was always 'Let's make it up as we go along' — and we did make some of The Lonesome Jubilee up as we went along. But we had a very clear idea of what we wanted it to sound like, even before it was written, right through to the day it was mastered.
InMellencamp said: Out of my agony came a couple of really beautiful songs. You can't be 22 years old and had two dates and understand that album.
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This other step that people keep wanting me to take to become another level of recording artist — to be Madonna? To kiss somebody's ass? I ain't gonna do it. We explored what a lot of these current bands are doing — these young black bands that are doing more than just sampling. The album also contained two protest songs in "L.
Others have just one guitar, bass, and drums, which I haven't done since American Fool. It was just a terrible lifestyle. In Septemberthe experimental album Mr.
Happy Go Luckywhich was produced by Junior Vasquezwas released to critical acclaim.
The arrangements are more ambitious, with programs and loops going right along with real drums and guitars. Happy Go Lucky spawned the No. Recording for Columbia — [ edit ] After the release of Mr. Happy Go Lucky and a subsequent four-month tour from March—July to promote it, Mellencamp signed a four-album deal with Columbia Recordsalthough he wound up making only three albums for the label.
Donovan made a record inSunshine Supermanand I wanted to start with that same kind of vibe—Eastern, very grand stories, fairy tales. InMellencamp covered his own songs as well as those by Bob Dylan and the Drifters for his album Rough Harvest recorded inone of two albums he owed Mercury Records to fulfill his contract the other was The Best That I Could Doa best-of collection.
In Mayhe gave the Indiana University commencement address, in which he advised graduates to "play it like you feel it!
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In AugustMellencamp played a series of unannounced free concerts in major cities on the East Coast and in the Midwest as a way of giving back to fans who had supported him the previous 24 years. With a lo-fi setup that included portable amps and a battery-powered P. The Good Samaritan Tour. Isn't that where music started?
To anybody who's said thank you to me, I say, 'You're very nice, but, really, thank you. He opened each show on this tour with a cover of the Rolling Stones ' " Gimme Shelter " and also played a solo acoustic version of the Cuttin' Heads track "Women Seem" at each show. The album was also dedicated to Mellencamp's friend, Billboard magazine editor-in-chief Timothy Whitewho died from a heart attack in Columbia Records executives, who were in attendance at the benefit shows, were so impressed with Mellencamp's live renditions of "Stones in My Passway" that they convinced him to record an album of vintage American songs, which ultimately became Trouble No More.
Trouble No More spent several weeks at No. John Mellencamp's Greatest Hitswhich contained 35 of his radio singles including all 22 of his Top 40 hits along with two new tunes, " Walk Tall " and "Thank You" — both produced by Babyface but written by Mellencamp.
InMellencamp toured with Donovan and John Fogerty. Register in seconds, verify your account, and you're ready to get going! Find A Local Single Our in depth search feature will help you find who you desire.
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