John Mellencamp Honored with the ASCAP Foundation Champion Award
12.12.2007 - John was honored last night in New York City with The ASCAP Foundation Champion Award. The prestigious award was presented to Mr. Mellencamp in recognition of his outstanding use of music in the service of humanity.
The presentation was the highlight of the eleventh annual ASCAP Foundation Awards Reception which also honored a wide variety of Scholarship and Award recipients, all of whom benefit from programs of The ASCAP Foundation.
In their presentation, ASCAP noted that John Mellencamp has a long and distinguished record as a social activist and humanitarian. Together with Willie Nelson and Neil Young, he organized the first Farm Aid concert in 1985 to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. Farm Aid stages America's longest running annual concert event that unites farmers, artists, consumers, and concerned citizens to build a powerful movement to promote good food from family farms. Farm Aid has raised more than $30 million to promote a strong and resilient family farm system of agriculture.
In addition, Mellencamp has long worked for peace and social justice, through his songs and personal appearances, including his participation in the 2004 multi-artist "Vote for Change" Tour. Social awareness has been a hallmark of Mellencamp song lyrics since the 1985 album, Scarecrow, which featured the hits, "Small Town" and "Rain On The Scarecrow." More recently, Mellencamp's 2007 release, Freedom's Road, included the songs, "Jim Crow," "Ghost Towns Along the Highway," and "Our Country." This past April, Mellencamp poignantly demonstrated his support for the men and women in uniform (in spite of his opposition to the war) by performing a concert for 200 wounded veterans and their families at Washington's Walter Reed Hospital. In October 2007, Mellencamp released the topical song, "Jena," in response to the racially-charged situation in that Louisiana town. Mellencamp was also recognized with the Woody Guthrie Award in 2003 by the Huntington's Disease Society of America.
Commenting on the award, ASCAP Foundation President Marilyn Bergman said: "John Mellencamp has always been known as a "people's artist," a performer who touches a common chord across class, age, and regional lines. In helping to establish Farm Aid, he was instrumental in bringing awareness of the plight of small farmers to wide attention. His fearless advocacy on issues ranging from peace to racial prejudice is to be applauded. For these reasons and more, we are proud to present John with the ASCAP Foundation Champion Award for music in the service of humanity."
Mellencamp.com was present at the awards, and rather than tell you what was said and played, we thought we would SHOW you what was played. The fans in attendance have posted video of ASCAP's introduction, John's acceptance speech, John's acoustic performances of "Ride Back Home," "Minutes To Memories," and "Small Town." Click HERE to go to the page where we have posted the videos.