I Need a Lover

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"I Need a Lover"
Single by John Cougar
from the album John Cougar
B-side "Welcome to Chinatown"
Released 1979
Format 7-inch 45 RPM
Recorded 1978 at AIR Studios, London, England[1]
Genre Rock
Length 5:38,[1] 3:30 (Single)
Label Riva
Writer(s) John Mellencamp
Producer(s) John Punter[1]
John Cougar singles chronology
"I Need a Lover"
"Taxi Dancer"

"I Need a Lover" is a rock song written and performed by John Mellencamp under the stage name John Cougar. It first appeared on his 1978 album A Biography, which was not released in the United States.[2] It was also included in his 1979 follow-up album John Cougar[3] and was released as a single, becoming his first Top 40 hit in the U.S. when it reached #28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1979.[4]

AllMusic reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine described "I Need a Lover" as Mellencamp's "first good song."[2]

Mellencamp has stated that "I Need a Lover" was inspired by The Rolling Stones' 1972 song "Happy."

The song also became an album-oriented rock radio hit for singer Pat Benatar,[5] appearing on her 1979 debut album In the Heat of the Night.[6] Hamilton Leithauser (of indie rock band The Walkmen) performed a version of the song in August 2014 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.[7]


  1. ^ a b c The Best That I Could Do 1978–1988 (CD liner). John Mellencamp. U.S.A.: Mercury Records. 1997. p. 9. 314 536 738-2. 
  2. ^ a b "John Cougar: A Biography: review". allmusic. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  3. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "John Cougar: A Biography: review". allmusic. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (8th Edition). Billboard Books. p. 418. ISBN 0-8230-7499-4. 
  5. ^ "John Mellencamp biography". allmusic. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Pat Benatar: In the Heat of the Night". allmusic. Retrieved October 21, 2010. 
  7. ^ Modell, Josh (12 August 2014). "Hamilton Leithauser covers John Cougar (and he’s playing A.V. Fest)". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 

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