GRAMMY-winning rocker John Mellencamp enjoyed a special evening at the GRAMMY Museum on Aug. 17, appearing before an intimate audience of 200 on the same day his new album, No Better Than This, hit stores and online retailers.
Additionally, the appearance came on the virtual eve — in October — of Farm Aid's 25th anniversary. Mellencamp founded Farm Aid in 1985 along with Willie Nelson and Neil Young. The founding members, along with Dave Matthews, will perform at Farm Aid 25 on Oct. 2 in Milwaukee. The organization distributed more than $500,000 to family and rural farm service providers in 2009 alone. During this unique "evening with" appearance, Mellencamp discussed his new T Bone Burnett-produced album as well as his eventful career and social activism.
Mellencamp began his career as Johnny Cougar, a name foisted on him by his then-manager. He spent the next few years living with and then fighting to change the name to reflect the real person and his developing craft. In 1982 he broke through with the No. 1 album American Fool and the hits "Hurts So Good" and "Jack & Diane." By his next album, 1983's Uh-Huh, he was at least being recognized as John "Cougar" Mellencamp, and was scoring hits such as "Pink Houses" that were beginning to dissect the daily hard-scrabble lives of his fellow Midwesterners. Songs such as "Small Town," "Minutes To Memories" and "Check It Out" would follow, solidifying his status as a heartland rocker with his finger on the pulse of the challenges of working-class Americans.
Mellencamp won a Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male GRAMMY in 1982 for "Hurts So Good" and has received a total of 14 nominations.
Upcoming GRAMMY Museum events include Bitches Brew: Celebrating The 40th Anniversary Of Miles Davis' Masterpiece (Sept. 2), The Latin Recording Academy Showcases Donato Poveda (Sept. 7) and The Hippest Trip In America: Celebrating The 40th Anniversary Of Soul Train (Sept. 8).
For more information on the GRAMMY Museum, visit www.grammymuseum.org.
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