John Mellencamp Essentials
In the '80s, John Mellencamp became a key figure in heartland rock after he mastered the art of setting homespun lyrics to rousing folk rock tunes. The Indiana-born singer/songwriter began his career as Johnny Cougar and released his debut in 1976. By 1982's American Fool, Mellencamp had found his voice, and so began a multi-decade run of gold and platinum albums. In the late '00s, he began working with T-Bone Burnett, whose intimate, traditional folk and country sound resulted in several well-received albums. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.