1980-69: John Cougar, “I Need a Lover”

To many ’80s music fans’ surprise John Cougar had a few hit singles prior to singing a little ditty about how good it hurts or about a guy named Jack and girlfriend Diane. He actually had three HOT 100 releases before then, and this one was the first of them all.

“I Need a Lover” has that classic John Cougar sound, and in the verses has some melodic hints of his future hit “Cherry Bomb” (see #1987-324) but with a more rock and roll sound. It was originally recorded for Cougar’s 1978 album A Biography but since the record was not made available in the states it did not have a chance to chart. The song did so good overseas (it was a #1 song in Australia!), it was placed on Cougar’s second album and made it to #28 in 1979. The song was on its way down the HOT 100 chart and sitting at #69 the first week of the new decade, so that becomes its official ’80s peak.

Cougar, who eventually took on his real surname of Mellencamp a few years later, has not only appeared on the HOT 100 as “John Cougar,” “John Cougar Mellencamp” and “John Mellencamp,” but also wet by “Johnny Cougar” on the aforementioned A Biography album.

Memorable lyric: “Well I’m not wiped out by this poolroom life I’m livin’. I’m gonna quit this job and go to school and head back home.”


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Connections pastor. On-air personality. Chart geek.

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