John J. Mellencamp is an American singer-songwriter formerly known as Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, and John Cougar Mellencamp. His catchy brand of heartland rock, which accentuates traditional instrumentation, has made him famous.
Mellencamp was born on October 7, 1951, in Seymour, Indiana. As a neonate, he underwent corrective surgery for spina bifida. At the age of 14, he established his first band called Crepe Soul. He attended Vincennes University and was a member of several local ensembles.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, he admitted to abusing narcotics and alcohol during this period. He sobered up, graduated from college, and traveled to New York City to seek a record deal.
John Mellencamp Illness
He was born with spina bifida and had surgery as an infant to rectify it. At the age of 14, Mellencamp founded his first band, Crepe Soul.
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Between 1974 and 1975, Mellencamp traveled between Indiana and New York City in pursuit of an audience receptive to his musical style. The attention of Tony DeFries of MainMan Management was drawn to him. His manager insisted that his debut album, “Chestnut Street Incident,” be published under the name Johnny Cougar. The album contained mostly tribute songs and a few originals.
The album was commercially unsuccessful, selling only 12,000 copies. He recorded “The Kid Inside” in 1977, but DeFries decided not to release the album and dismissed Mellencamp from the label. (DeFries would eventually go on to release the album in 1983, only after Mellencamp had achieved global stardom.) Billy Gaff, Rod Stewart’s manager, noticed Mellencamp and contracted him to the Riva Records label.
Mellencamp relocated to London for nearly a year at Gaff’s request to record, promote, and tour in support of 1978’s “A Biography.” Although the album was not released in the United States, “I Need a Lover” became a top-five success in Australia. 1980 saw the release of two top 40 recordings by Mellencamp: “This Time” and “Ain’t Even Done With the Night.”
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Mellencamp has had three marriages and five children. At the age of 18, he married Priscilla Esterline, his pregnant fiancée. After completing high education, he became a father six months later. His daughter Michelle also gave birth at the age of 18, turning Mellencamp into a grandfather at the age of 37.
In 1981, he and Priscilla divorced. From 1981 to 1989, Mellencamp was married to Victoria Granucci. In September 1992, he married model Elaine Irwin, and the couple divorced in 2011. Additionally, he has previously dated the actress Meg Ryan.
The couple separated in the 1990s but reconciled in November 2018 and became engaged. In November 2019, they verified that they had ended their engagement and separated once more. In the autumn of 2015, he was briefly linked to former supermodel Christie Brinkley. It was reported in April 2020 that Mellencamp was dating dermatologist Jamie Sherrill.
Teddi Jo Mellencamp, one of John’s daughters, has appeared on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” as a reality television personality.