I Need a Lover

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"I Need a Lover"
Johnny Cougar I Need a Lover Single.jpg
Single by John Cougar
from the album John Cougar
B-side"Welcome to Chinatown"
Format7-inch 45 RPM
Recorded1978 at AIR Studios, London, England[1]
Length5:38,[1] 3:30 (Single)
Songwriter(s)John Mellencamp Frank David Williams
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 and first released under the stage name Johnny Cougar. It appeared on his 1978 album A Biography, which was not released in the United States.[2] After becoming a Top 10 hit in Australia, the song was later included on his 1979 follow-up album John Cougar[3] to introduce it to U.S. audiences, and it 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."

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.[5]

Cover versions[edit]

Pat Benatar version[edit]

"I Need a Lover"
Pat Benatar I Need a Lover Single.jpg
Single by Pat Benatar
from the album In the Heat of the Night
B-side"No You Don't"
ReleasedMarch 8, 1980
GenreHard rock
Songwriter(s)John Mellencamp
Pat Benatar singles chronology
"We Live for Love"
"I Need a Lover"
"Rated X"

The song was covered and released as the debut single in 1980 by American rock singer Pat Benatar for her debut studio album, In the Heat of the Night (1979). The song became an album-oriented rock radio hit for the singer.


  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.CS1 maint: others (link)
  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. ^ Modell, Josh (August 12, 2014). "Hamilton Leithauser covers John Cougar (and he's playing A.V. Fest)". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. Retrieved August 12, 2014.

External links[edit]