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Farm Aid concerts have remained an annual event over the past 34 years, and as of 2019 Rolling Stone contributor Anthony De Curtis said: "Mellencamp has created an important body of work that has earned him both critical regard and an enormous audience.
His songs document the joys and struggles of ordinary people seeking to make their way, and he has consistently brought the fresh air of common experience to the typically glamour-addled world of popular music."John Mellencamp is arguably the most important roots rocker of his generation. John has made fiddles, hammer dulcimers, Autoharps (sic) and accordions [into] lead rock instruments on a par with electric guitar, bass, and drums, and he also brought what he calls 'a raw Appalachian' lyrical outlook to his songs.
He is known for his catchy, populist brand of heartland rock, which emphasizes traditional instrumentation. His latest album of original songs, Sad Clowns & Hillbillies, was released on April 28, 2017 to widespread critical acclaim.
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. 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.
Mellencamp reluctantly agreed, but the album was a commercial failure, selling only 12,000 copies.
Only Cougars is where people who share a love for mature women & cougar dating go to meet Divorcees, Single Moms and Sexy Cougars looking for a young Stud!I would lie there, listening to Roxy Music, right next to the record player so I wouldn't have to get up to flip the record over. There would be four or five days like that when I would be completely gone." Upon graduating from Vincennes University in 1974, Mellencamp played in several local bands including the glitter-band Trash, which was named for a New York Dolls song, and he later got a job in Seymour installing telephones.At this time, Mellencamp, who had given up drugs and alcohol before graduating from college, decided to pursue a career in music and traveled to New York City in an attempt to land a record contract.I went to New York and everybody said, 'You sound like a hillbilly.' And I said, 'Well, I am.' So that's where he came up with that name.I was totally unaware of it until it showed up on the album jacket.