John J. Mellencamp (born October 7, 1951), previously known as Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, and John Cougar Mellencamp, is an American singer-songwriter. He is known for his catchy brand of heartland rock, which emphasizes traditional instrumentation. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, followed by an induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018.Mellencamp rose to fame in the 1980s while "honing an almost startlingly plainspoken writing style" that, starting in 1982, yielded a string of Top 10 singles, including "Hurts So Good", "Jack & Diane", "Crumblin' Down", "Pink Houses", "Lonely Ol' Night", "Small Town", "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.", "Paper in Fire", and "Cherry Bomb". He has amassed 22 Top 40 hits in the United States. In addition, he holds the record for the most tracks by a solo artist to hit number one on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, with seven. Mellencamp has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, winning one. He has sold over 30 million albums in the US and over 60 million worldwide. His latest album of original songs, Orpheus Descending, was released in June 2023.
Mellencamp is also one of the founding members of Farm Aid, an organization that began in 1985 with a concert in Champaign, Illinois, to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. Farm Aid concerts have remained an annual event over the past 37 years, and as of 2023 the organization has raised over $60 million.