Way back when, Wednesdays

R.O.C.K. in the T.T.P

Have you heard of Johnny Cougar? Tea Tree Plaza advertised the forthcoming appearance of pop star ‘cool cat Johnny Cougar’, on page 18 of the Leader Messenger dated 9 August 1978.

Johnny Cougar

Johnny Cougar and John Cougar were stage names used by Indiana born heartland rock musician and singer-songwriter John Mellencamp, early in his career from 1976 to 1982. Believe it; at the age of 26, John Mellencamp visited Tea Tree Plaza, before he rose to fame internationally. Let us know if you went to Tea Tree Plaza to see him or if you attended the Grease themed ball in Adelaide!

John’s professional music career began in 1976 when he secured a recording contract with MCA Records. The company released his first album, The Chestnut Street Incident, which featured some original compositions and cover versions.

John’s manager insisted that he change his name to Johnny Cougar in the belief that it would be too hard to sell a record by anybody who had a surname like Mellencamp, which reflected John’s German heritage. Eventually John would become successful enough to insist on using his real name.  http://www.mellencamp.com/about.html

During an interview in 2005 John Mellencamp revealed “That (name) was put on me by some manager. I went to New York and everybody said, ‘You sound like a hillbilly.’ And I said, ‘Well, I am.’ So that’s where he came up with that name. I was totally unaware of it until it showed up on the album jacket. When I objected to it, he said, ‘Well, either you’re going to go for it, or we’re not going to put the record out.’ So that was what I had to do… but I thought the name was pretty silly.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mellencamp

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Unfortunately, The Chestnut Street Incident was not a commercial success. MCA Records ended their association with John but supported by Billy Gaff, (who also managed Rod Stewart) he secured a contract with the small Riva Records label. On the advice of his new manager, John moved to England to record his new album A Biography in 1978. He then went on tour to promote it. John had a top ten hit in Australia at this time with I need a Lover. His album A Biography peaked at 19 on the Australian music charts but it was not released in America.

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John recorded his successful self-titled album in 1979, Nothin’ Matters and What If It Did in 1980 and American Fool in 1982, under the name John Cougar.  I Need a Lover was included on John Cougar and made it to number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1979. US charts. He released Uh-Huh in 1983, Scarecrow in 1985, The Lonesome Jubilee in 1987 and Big Daddy in 1989 using the name John Cougar Mellencamp. John finally dropped the Cougar part of his name with the release of Whenever We Wanted in 1991.

#waybackwhenwednesdays

My experience with music and my work experience at the Tea Tree Gully Library!

Jaenaya recently spent time with us at the Library, completing work experience as part of her Year 11 studies. Turns out she is a total muso – she has played the clarinet since she was nine. She tells us a bit more about why she loves it:

My name is Jaenaya and I attended a week of work experience at the Tea Tree Gully Library for Year 11. I chose to go to the library because of my love for quiet spaces and books. But another thing that I like is music.

So, because it is one of my favourite things, I have decided to write about the clarinet and just my general experience with music.

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The clarinet is one of my favourite things…

When I first discovered the clarinet, at about 9 years old, I barely knew what a clarinet was. It may even be the same for you right now. I began lessons partly because my mum was like “Yeah, clarinets are lovely” and because I was 9 and easily persuadable. But it certainly was a good choice! (Thanks mum). One thing that may be confusing to some people is the difference between the clarinet and the oboe. I understand, because they look so similar, but I’m here to tell you that there is a difference.


An oboe (pictured left above) sounds like a goose, and a clarinet (pictured right above) doesn’t (well, I don’t think it does). There is also a bass clarinet, also known as an Eb (E flat) clarinet. I play a Bb (B flat) clarinet, which is smaller and has a slightly higher pitch than the Eb clarinet.

A clarinet, like some other well-known instruments, uses a reed. A reed is basically a thin piece of wood that is fixed onto the mouthpiece. When you blow, it vibrates and creates the sound.

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The almighty reed – the key to making sound on a clarinet

As for my general experience with music, I can play three instruments, one of them being the clarinet. I believe that learning a musical instrument is a very valuable skill. Studies have shown that people who can read sheet music and learn to play instruments have good memory. This is understandable, as reading sheet music consists of linking many things together in your head and eventually figuring out where to put your fingers.  I must say that there are difficulties without a doubt, but learning an instrument is really rewarding. Especially when after practising and practising, you are finally able to flawlessly play a song.

So, I hope I have taught you something about the clarinet. I hope I’ll be able to play in an orchestra one day. I would have to take a great step out of my comfort zone to do that…

But my work experience here at the Tea Tree Gully Library has told me that good things can come of performing daunting tasks! So thank you to all the staff at the library. I now feel just that bit more prepared for the real world.