John Mellencamp Signs 'Lifetime' Deal With Republic; New Album This Fall

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The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has placed 20 albums on the Billboard 200 since 1979.

Republic Records has signed rock veteran John Mellencamp to what the label is calling a "lifetime" recording contract. The deal also announced that Mellencamp will release his 22nd full-length album, titled Plain Spoken, this fall.

"Not only has he served as an ambassador of social consciousness in America, but he has also provided the soundtrack of a generation," said Republic co-founder and chief executive Monte Lipman. "We’re thrilled to be working with John Mellencamp as part of this historic deal."

The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed. Republic is a division of Universal Music Group.

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Plain Spoken will be the 62-year-old Mellencamp's first new album since 2010's No Better Than This, released by Rounder Records. He has also recorded for Hear Music, Universal Republic, Columbia, Mercury and Riva during the course of his career, which he began as Johnny Cougar at the insistence of his then-manager Tony DeFries of MainMan Management, who worked with David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Luther Vandross and Mott the Hoople, among others, before reverting back to his given name.  

Mellencamp has placed 20 albums on the Billboard 200 since 1979. Ten of those sets have reached the top 10, with 1982's American Fool marking his sole No. 1, where it reigned for nine weeks. On the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, Mellencamp also boasts 10 top 10s, including one No. 1: "Jack & Diane," from American Fool, which spent four weeks on top.

Other Mellencamp hits include "Hurts So Good," "Crumbling Down," "Pink Houses," "Small Town," "Paper in Fire" and "Wild Night."

Mellencamp's last three albums have all reached the Billboard 200's top 10: Freedom's Road (2007), Life Death Love and Freedom (2008) and No Better Than This (2010). Until that run, he hadn't tallied three straight top 10s since 1985-89.

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He has sold 27.5 million albums, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991, Mellencamp has moved 13 million albums. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. He has won a single Grammy (Best Male Rock Performer for "Hurts So Good" in 1982) and been nominated 12 other times.

Additional reporting by Gary Trust.

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