A hero of heartland rock and blue-collar American roots music, John Mellecamp was born in Seymour, Indiana, on October 7, 1951. After graduating from Vincennes University, he adopted the stage name "Johnny Cougar" and released the debut album Chestnut Street Incident, which featured a collection of cover songs. His career accelerated with 1980's Nothin' Matters and What If It Did, but Mellencamp achieved his true breakthrough after converting to a harder-edged rock sound for 1982's American Fool. The Grammy-winning "Hurts So Good" and the Number 1 hit "Jack & Diane" both became enduring radio classics, and Mellencamp expanded both his popularity and his musical horizons with 1983's Uh-Huh, 1985's Scarecrow, and 1987's acoustic-heavy The Lonesome Jubilee. Officially billed as "John Mellencamp" staring with 1991's Whenever We Wanted, he continued to release albums well into the 21st century, with highlights including 2008's Life, Death, Love and Freedom (produced by T Bone Burnett) and 2017's Sad Clowns & Hillbillies. Another album of cover songs, Other People's Stuff, followed in 2019, and Mellencamp returned his focus to original with 2022's Strictly a One-Eyed Jack.