John Mellencamp began his career as Johnny Cougar, on the advice of his manager, Tony DeFries. Cougar's debut, Chestnut Street Incident, was released in 1976 in a whirlwind of hype. A competent collection of Stonesy rockers, infused with a blue-collar Bruce Springsteen/Bob Seger attitude, the album received a critical backlash because of all the hype, but it's possible to hear the roots of Cougar's heartland music within the record, if you listen closely.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine