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John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but he probably takes more pride in his induction to the Songwriters Hall of Fame — not that the cantankerous Midwesterner worries too much about accolades. Mellencamp turned his ’80s pop stardom (and its inclusion of “Cougar” in his name) into a four-decade career where he’s penned heartland rock classics and tuneful political screeds, all written from the perspective of the little guy fighting the good fight as America crumbles around him. He’s on a late-career creative hot streak, including a 2018 album of stirring and surprising covers, Other People’s Stuff, and remains a fiery live performer. Grab one of the few remaining tickets if you can.

— Dan Nailen

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