John Mellencamp's numerous hits, awards, and recognitions—including his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame—puts him in such celebrated company as Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan. In Mellencamp, David Masciotra explores the life and career of this important talent, persuasively arguing for his space among the most distinguished songwriters of our time.
Beginning with Mellencamp's modest start in Seymour, Indiana, Masciotra details the artist's road to fame, examines his struggles with the music industry, and celebrates the success he found by remaining true to his midwestern roots. With themes that range from small-town life, race, and religion to poverty and the struggles of adulthood, Mellencamp's songs remain central to the social and historical context of contemporary America. Acting as an artistic archivist, he has never forgotten the hardships faced by workers and Black Americans, and in line with his tributes to 1960s rock and Americana folk, he tells a story his audience and his country need to hear.
From a cultural critic whose work has also appeared in the Washington Post, Atlantic, and Los Angeles Review of Books, this thoughtful analysis—now with a new foreword describing the author's interview with Mellencamp at his private recording studio in Nashville, Indiana—highlights four decades of the artist's music, showing how it has consistently elevated the dignity of everyday people, and spanned the genres of folk, soul, and rock and roll to amplify the struggle of democracy.
Foreword to the Updated Edition
Blues from the Front Porch: An Afternoon with John Mellencamp
Introduction: No Pop Singer
1. Thundering Hearts
2. Holding Hands Meant Something
3. Get a Leg Up
4. Eden Is Burning
5. Blues from the Front Porch
6. Big Daddy of Them All
7. Don't Need This Body
8. The Lonesome Jubilee
9. Here in the Melting Pot
10. Winners and Losers
11. Freedom of Speech
12. Fighting Authority
Conclusion: Rock 'n' Roll
All readers will enjoy Masciotra's rich writing style, and learn from the impressive array of supporting material he brings to bear on the song lyrics.~Indiana Magazine of History
This first serious biography of the legendary musician will charm fans and music enthusiasts who are interested in the development of roots rock and Americana music.~WVXU-FM