ASCAP Taps John Mellencamp for Founders Award

John Mellencamp photographed on Oct. 20, 2015 at ACA Galleries in New York.
Joel Barhamand

John Mellencamp photographed on Oct. 20, 2015 at ACA Galleries in New York.

John Mellencamp will be presented with the prestigious Founders Award at the 33rd annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards next month in Los Angeles.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will be honored at the society’s April 27 gala at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. 

“For the last four decades, John Mellencamp has captured the American experience in his songs,” said ASCAP President Paul Williams in a statement. “His infectious melodies and compassionate lyrics, wrapped in workingman’s rock, crystallize life’s joys and struggles and illuminate the human condition. A national treasure, he’s also one of the truly great music creators that can make us care, move, clap and sing along.”

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The Founders Award is bestowed each year to “pioneering” ASCAP songwriters who have made “exceptional contributions to music by inspiring and influencing their fellow music creators.”

Mellencamp’s trophy cabinet is as well stocked as that of any artist in the business. He’s a Grammy winner, a recipient of the John Steinbeck Award, ASCAP Foundation’s Champion Award, The Woody Guthrie Award and Americana Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008. Mellencamp's 22nd LP Plain Spoken dropped in October 2008, peaking at No. 18 on the Billboard 200. Not bad for a guy who was initially determined to make it as a painter.

Previous winners of the Founders Award include Ashford & Simpson, Burt Bacharach & Hal David, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Billy Joel, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS, Annie Lennox, Sir Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Tom Petty, Smokey Robinson, Carly Simon, Patti Smith, Steely Dan, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Tom Waits, Ann & Nancy Wilson (Heart), Stevie Wonder and Neil Young.

Also on the night, Walk the Moon, the pop band behind the ubiquitous hit “Shut Up and Dance,” will be rewarded with the ASCAP Vanguard Award, which “recognizes the impact of musical genres that help shape the future of American music,” according to ASCAP. 

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“It's an honor and an awesome feeling to be recognized by ASCAP and the music-making community,” said Walk the Moon’s singer and keyboardist Nicholas Petricca. “Our fellow artists and those who surround and support us somehow create more and more stylish, original work each year, and we are very proud to receive this award in such an exciting time, among such prolific people.”

Walk the Moon join a cadre of previous Vanguard Award honorees including The All-American Rejects, Arcade Fire, Band of Horses, Beastie Boys, Beck, Björk, Sara Bareilles, Diplo, fun., Jack Johnson, The Killers, Modest Mouse, The Strokes and St. Vincent.

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