The veteran rock singer with roaring honesty, John Mellencamp (1951-) was born on this day in the small town of Seymour, Indiana with spina bifida, a serious birth defect. With luck, he cheated paralysis with a successful spinal cord operation when he was six weeks old.
He once said, "I sometimes in a quiet moment will think, man you're lucky. Boy, you're a lucky guy."
In 1979, billed as "Johnny Cougar," he hit it big with the driving single I Need a Lover. With 1982's American Fool, he carried the big drums, catchy chorus, raw vocals, and passionate guitars along with him for more hits, including, Hurts So Good and Jack and Diane. With 25 years and 19 albums, he's still going strong.
"Iíve enjoyed every day of the full catastrophe of life." said the singer who cut short his music tour in 1994 when he suffered a heart attack.
IIn a funny way, my heart attack made life a little easier. I donít get mad like I used to. I used to have no filter--in the head, out the mouth. Say anything to anybody."
Along with Willie Nelson and Neil Young, Mellencamp was a founding organizer of Farm-Aid to help the plight of small farmers. September 2004 celebrated the fundraiser's 19th annual concert, held in Washington.
John is also an advocate for the Special Olympics and the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts. Passionate Mellencamp said of his commitment and tenacity, "I've just always tried to keep some kind of humility about myself and tried to be respectful to others and hopefully, they'll respect you."
The talented rocker has also pursued oil painting as a creative outlet and released a collection of his evocative works Paintings and Reflections in 1998. All proceeds were given to elementary school children studying music.
Peace of mind is priceless.