John Cougar (album)

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John Cougar
John Cougar Album.jpg
Studio album by John Cougar
Released July 27, 1979 (1979-07-27)[1]
Recorded Criteria Studios, Miami, 1979
("I Need a Lover" recorded at AIR Studios, London, England in 1978)
Genre Rock, heartland rock, blues
Length 43:20
Label Riva
Producer Ron Albert & Howard Albert;
John Punter ("I Need a Lover")
John Cougar chronology
A Biography
(1978)A Biography1978
John Cougar
Nothin' Matters and What If It Did
(1980)Nothin' Matters and What If It Did1980
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 2/5 stars [2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2.5/5 stars[3]

John Cougar is the third studio album by John Mellencamp. This was the first album with his new record company Riva Records and under the name "John Cougar."[4] 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., peaking at No. 28 in December 1979,[5] after having been a No. 5 hit in Australia in 1978 when it was released as a single from A Biography.[6] "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 No. 87 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1980.[5] During concerts in 1979 and 1980, 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."

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by John Mellencamp, except where noted.

  1. "A Little Night Dancin'" – 3:43
  2. "Small Paradise" – 3:40
  3. "Miami" – 3:53
  4. "The Great Midwest" – 4:29
  5. "Do You Think That's Fair" – 4:48
  6. "I Need a Lover" – 5:35
  7. "Welcome to Chinatown" – 3:59
  8. "Sugar Marie" – 4:16
  9. "Pray for Me" – 3:30 (Mellencamp, Brian Bec Var)
  10. "Taxi Dancer" – 5:02
  11. "Take Home Pay" (2005 re-issue bonus track) – 3:10


  • John Mellencamp - vocal, guitar
  • Brian Bec Var - piano, keyboards
  • Larry Crane - guitars, backing vocals
  • Mike "Chief" Wanchic - guitars, backing vocals
  • Robert "Ferd" Frank - bass
  • Tom Knowles - drums
  • Don Gehman - engineer



Billboard (North America)[5]

Year Chart Position
1980 Pop Albums 64


Billboard (North America)[5]

Year Single Chart Position
1979 "I Need a Lover" The Billboard Hot 100 28
1980 "Small Paradise" The Billboard Hot 100 87


Online references

External links[edit]