By V.R. PETERSON Chuck Arnold and Jessica Herndon
Updated January 29, 2007 12:00 PM

AMERICAN FOOL (1982) His multiplatinum breakthrough, back when he was John Cougar.

UH-HUH (1983) Packs the opening one-two-three punch of “Crumblin’ Down,” “Pink Houses” and “Authority Song.”

SCARECROW (1985) The disc that established him as the voice of the heartland.

THE LONESOME JUBILEE (1987) Mellencamp had us all checking it out when he started incorporating folk sounds.