Voice for Equality: John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp is an American rock singer-songwriter, musician, painter and occasional actor known for his catchy, populist brand of heartland rock that eschews synthesizers and other artificial sounds in favor of organic instrumentation. 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 he has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, winning one. His latest album, No Better Than This, was released on August 17, 2010 to widespread critical acclaim.

Mellencamp is also one of the founding members of Farm Aid, an organization that began in 1985 with a concert in Champaign, Illinois to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. The Farm Aid concerts have remained an annual event over the past 25 years, and as of 2010 the organization has raised over $37 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture. The 25th anniversary Farm Aid concert was held at Miller Park in Milwaukee on October 2, 2010.

Mellencamp was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10, 2008 by Billy Joel.  His biggest musical influences are Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and The Rolling Stones.  Learn more here.

On October 4, 2010, Kathleen Perrin posted a story on the HRC/Courage Campaign NOM Exposed site telling of Mr. Mellencamp's learning that the so-called National Organization for Marriage (NOM) had played his recording of “Pink Houses” during their anti-marriage equality rally in Madison, WI.  Music on video below:

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Reminiscent of the response by the remaining members of Peter, Paul & Mary when they learned that NOM was using their recording of of Woody Guthrie’s "This Land Is Your Land” at a rally in Albany, NY, a representative for Mr. Mellencamp sent a note to NOM stating:

"I am getting in touch with you on behalf of my client John Mellencamp who has become aware that his music (“Pink Houses”) has been used at events sponsored by your organization. Please be aware that Mr. Mellencamp’s views on the freedom to marry and equal rights for people of all sexual orientations are at odds with NOM’s stated agenda.

"Back in 2008, we pointed out to the McCain-Palin campaign that their use of Mr. Mellencamp’s music in campaign events was puzzling in light of Mellencamp’s own political views which were, largely, in opposition to those of these candidates. Immediately after we sent notice to campaign manager Rick Davis, the McCain campaign had the good sense to stop the use of Mellencamp’s music at their events. There’s an article about this from the Washington Post that I’ve pasted below.

"We would encourage you to find music from a source more in harmony with your views than Mr. Mellencamp in the future."

Freedom to Marry salutes John Mellencamp as a Voice for Equality!

If Mr. Mellencamp's support inspires you, take action by signing the Freedom to Marry Pledge.