Singer John Mellencamp is coming to Tulsa, and so is an exhibit about his life and career.
Mellencamp will accept the Woody Guthrie Prize Thursday evening, and the special exhibit – loaded with Mellencamp memorabilia – will open at the Woody Guthrie Center Friday.
"His second-grade report card. He didn't do quite as well as you might expect in his writing skills," said Deana McCloud with the Woody Guthrie Center.
He got a lot of Ns, which, if I remember from my own report cards means needs improvement.
There are family photos, and maybe some things you didn't know, like, “He was born with Spina Bifida. He wasn't expected to live," McCloud said.
An experimental corrective surgery was successful.
You can see the different stages of his life and career.
He was born Slate Mellencamp but his grandparents convinced his parents to change Slate to John.
His early music, like ‘Jack and Diane’ was released as John Cougar - one of his old guitars shows the remnants of that part of his career. Then he was John Cougar Mellencamp, and finally just John Mellencamp.
"We all love Mellencamp. And the connection to Woody is very, very, deep," McCloud said.
He is this year’s recipient of the Woody Guthrie Prize for his lifetime of social activism.
The exhibit is loaded with instruments, hand-written lyric sheets, other elements of a Hall of Fame career, one of his many paintings. and a motorcycle.
"Who'd ever thought at The Woody Guthrie Center we'd have a motorcycle," McCloud said.
The John Mellencamp exhibit will be there through the middle of January.