John J Mellencamp, also known as John Cougar Mellencamp (born October 7, 1951), is an American rock singer-songwriter, musician, painter and occasional actor known for his catchy, populist brand of heartland rock which emphasizes traditional instrumentation. Mellencamp rose to superstardom in the 1980s while "honing an almost startlingly plainspoken writing style that, starting in 1982, yielded a string of Top 10 singles," including "Hurts So Good," "Jack & Diane," "Crumblin' Down," “Pink Houses,” "Lonely Ol' Night," "Small Town," "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.," "Paper in Fire," and "Cherry Bomb." He has sold over 40 million albums worldwide and has amassed 22 Top 40 hits in the United States. In addition, he holds the record for the most tracks by a solo artist to hit number-one on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, with seven, and has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, winning one. Mellencamp released his latest album, Plain Spoken, on September 23, 2014 to widespread critical acclaim.