John Cougar (titled Miami in Australia) is the third album released by John Mellencamp and the first under the name "John Cougar." Released in 1979, following the Australian success of "I Need a Lover" from the previous year's A Biography (which did not receive a U.S. release), the album included the aforementioned track for U.S. audiences, as well as a re-working of A Biography's "Taxi Dancer."
"I Need a Lover," upon the release of this album, became a Top 40 hit in the U.S. after having been a No. 1 hit in Australia in 1978 when it was released as a single from A Biography. "Miami" was also a hit single in Australia and became his second Top 40 hit in that country. "I Need a Lover" was subsequently covered by Pat Benatar on her album In the Heat of the Night. In the U.S., however, "Small Paradise" was released as a single in place of "Miami," but it was not very successful, peaking at #87 on the Billboard Hot 100. During concerts to promote the album, guitarist Mike Wanchic would trade lead vocals with Mellencamp on "Miami."
Mellencamp recorded a solo acoustic rendition of "Sugar Marie" for his 2010 box set On the Rural Route 7609, stating in the set's liner notes: "'Sugar Marie' suffered from young musicians not knowing how to present the music. I've always had an affection for the song, and I've always known it had something I didn't get at on the album."