Indiana-born John Mellencamp took a long and slow way to fame, during which he has become a dedicated social critic and advocate for agricultural awareness, organizing the Farm Aid concerts with Neil Young and Willie Nelson. His early albums were released under the stage name John Cougar. Mellencamp had little to do with this decision and resented it, ultimately gaining enough control over his music to release it under his own name. "Jack and Diane" was one of the biggest hits on the 1982 breakthrough album "American Fool." Although partially autobiographical, Mellencamp has acknowledged that the song was also inspired by his viewing of the 1961 romance film "Splendor in the Grass," which, like the song, is about the euphoria of teenage love and the disappointments of real life.