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.
The record wasn't released in the United States, but it yielded a No. The worst thing was that I could have gone on making records like that for hundreds of years.
1 hit in Australia with "I Need a Lover." Riva Records added "I Need a Lover" to Mellencamp's next album released in the United States, 1979's John Cougar, where the song became a No. Pat Benatar recorded "I Need a Lover" on her debut album In the Heat of the Night. "The singles were stupid little pop songs," he told Record Magazine in 1983. It wasn't like the title was made up – it wasn't supposed to be punky or cocky like some people thought. Me and the guys in the band thought we were finished, anyway. Hell, as long as you sell a few records and the record company isn't putting a lot of money into promotion, you're making money for 'em and that's all they care about. They thought I was going to turn into the next Neil Diamond." In 1982, Mellencamp released his breakthrough album, American Fool, which contained the singles "Hurts So Good," an uptempo rock tune that spent four weeks at No.
A.," "Paper in Fire," and "Cherry Bomb." He has amassed 22 Top 40 hits in the United States.