Seymour native John Mellencamp will be inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame

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Seymour native John Mellencamp and nine others will be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 14 at Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

The 66-year-old will be joined by Bill Anderson, Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown and James “JT” Taylor of Kool & The Gang, Steve Dorff, Jermaine Dupri, Alan Jackson and Allee Willis during the hall’s 49th annual induction and awards dinner.

Throughout his career, Mellencamp has written more than 20 top-40 hits, including “Jack and Diane,” “Small Town,” “Crumblin’ Down,” “The Authority Song,” “Rain on the Scarecrow,” “Lonely Ol’ Night,” “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.,” “Paper In Fire,” “Check It Out,” “Pink Houses,” “Pop Singer” and “Jackie Brown.”

Several songs, including “Hurts So Good,” “Crumblin’ Down,” “Rain on the Scarecrow,” “Key West Intermezzo (I Saw You First)” and others, Mellencamp wrote with longtime friend and fellow Seymour native George Green, who died in 2011.

Bonnye Good of Seymour said Mellencamp’s songs touched on important issues to people in the Midwest in such a way that made it clear he was writing his songs from experience and the heart.

“(It) told an important story about family farms and the economic crisis that threatened them,” she said of “Rain on the Scarecrow.” “I lived in Louisiana and had never heard of Seymour, but he made the fear of loss palpable, as well as the pride in this beautiful, productive land.”

Richard Meadors of Seymour said songs like “Minutes to Memories” and “Longest Days” have made Mellencamp “the voice of the heartland for multiple decades now.”

“He sings about common, everyday things. He has written songs that have woven into the fabric of our country,” Meadors said. “He sings about hard work, life, love and loss. He has adapted through the years to many different styles of music.

“The man is an icon,” Meadors added. “Besides what he has accomplished in the music field, his contributions to Farm Aid and to family farms go just beyond singing a song and sending thoughts and prayers. The man has been a vocal proponent for small businesses, family farms and the heartland lifestyle. I say, ‘Well done,’ and I am excited to hear this news.”

Former Seymour resident Debbie Teel, who now lives in Tennessee, said Mellencamp deserves the honor of being in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“He told what it was like growing up in our small town of Seymour,” she said.

Mellencamp already is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Grammy winner, a recipient of the John Steinbeck Award, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Foundation’s Champion Award, The Woody Guthrie Award and Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and more recently, the Founders Award, the top honor assigned by ASCAP.

Missy Casner of Seymour said one of her favorite Mellencamp songs is “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.”

“It was our 1987 marching band senior night song,” she said. “He is very talented and still performs an awesome show. I’ve seen him several times at his concerts and at Farm Aid.”

Sally Spurgeon of Seymour said Mellencamp’s songs resonate with people because the lyrics are personal.

“’Jack and Diane’ reminded me of couples I knew growing up,” she said.

The 2018 roster of Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees “is a prodigious representation of creators of cross-genre hits, certain to resonate with everyone,” according to hall of fame co-chairmen Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff.

“Each year, the slate of songwriters we induct is more diverse and illustrative of the history and contributions that we strive to acknowledge and honor,” Hall of Fame President/CEO Linda Moran said. “We could not be more excited to preside over this year’s event and to give these songwriters their due respect.”

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