1982: John Cougar Mellencamp makes it big

Posted at 8:09 AM, Dec 05, 2017
and last updated 2022-04-21 13:10:53-04

BLOOMINGTON — Seymour native John Mellencamp got his first taste of success 40 years ago.

His album, American Fool, shot up the charts in 1982 with the hit singles "Hurts So Good" and "Jack & Diane."

Former WRTV reporter Greg Todd visited Mellencamp at his home near Bloomington in April 1982. Mellencamp discussed family, life in southern Indiana and even the origin of the name ‘Johnny Cougar.’

“I saw this name, it said Johnny Cougar on it. I thought, 'well who’s this fool?’ I don’t want that on my album cover,” Mellencamp said.

The musician also described growing up in Seymour.

“You did two things in Seymour. You rode around in cars and drank beer … chased girls, I guess that’s three things.”

Mellencamp was appreciative of his small-town roots.

“Small towns teach you, in a funny way, a certain type of discipline. It keeps you real here.”