Travel Oops: The Unfortunate Photo — Here’s a ‘Little Ditty’ about a Rock Star Who Didn’t Really Want his Picture Taken

Look at how excited John Mellencamp is to pose with me.

Look at how excited John Mellencamp is to pose with me!

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA. In 1986, I posed in a photo with John (Cougar) Mellencamp, one of the biggest rock ‘n rollers in the United States at the time. “Jack and Diane,” “Hurts So Good” “Pink Houses,” “Small Town,” “Lonely Ol’ Night,” “R.O.C.K’ in the USA”  are a few of his “little” ditties.

You don’t need to be a body language reading expert to assess that the picture was pretty much taken against his will. That summer, Mellencamp was vacationing in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I was there, too, with my good friend, Melissa, and her family. The condo where we stayed overlooked Mellencamp’s penthouse. Word on the beach was that he was staying there, and that we might run into him.

One day I was walking on the beach with Melissa’s cousin, Catherine, from Pennsylvania. She spotted Mellencamp, and being a bit more…aggressive, persistent and “east coast,” shall we say, she immediately had a mission.  “Come awwwn, Steph…let’s go talk to him,” Catherine said as she trooped over to get his photo. She shoved me in the picture, and I felt very awkward, especially since it was clear John did not want to be bothered.

John Cougar Mellencamp's penthouse © Stephanie Glaser 1986

John Cougar Mellencamp’s penthouse © Stephanie Glaser 1986

19 thoughts on “Travel Oops: The Unfortunate Photo — Here’s a ‘Little Ditty’ about a Rock Star Who Didn’t Really Want his Picture Taken

  1. No he’s not a ray of sunshine is he! I don’t mind some of his little ditties, rare though it is to hear them nowadays. And didn’t you look good in a swimsuit : )

    • It’s funny, Hayley, because he was laughing until we approached him and then he stopped and clouded over. I don’t really blame him since it was his vacation. I didn’t want to get in the photo either, but Catherine kept telling me to get in the photo that the whole scene was tense so I just slowly moved closer to him so she could get the shot. Thanks for the comment (and compliment!) 🙂

  2. Love those bathers – they’d be so ‘in’ right now!! Very retro LOL

    The closest I’ve ever come to anything like this, though without the photographic proof, was back in the 1990s when I ended up in a lift/elevator with Michael Stipe of REM fame. I’d gone shopping in the Myer Center with my at-the-time boyfriend and was in the lift with this guy who looked vaguely familiar. I couldn’t put my finger on it, even mentioned it to Mum when I got home, but my brain wasn’t forthcoming until I watched the news that night and saw him interviewed – they were at the height of their fame and in town to play a concert. I pretty much screamed at Mum to come look, gesticulating at the television and stuttering, “That was THE GUY!!” I still don’t know what I’d have done if I’d realised who he was while he was standing three feet from me :p

    • Wow — Michael Stipe! How VERY cool that must have been (although you didn’t know it at the time). I was a huge R.E.M. fan. Did you make eye contact with him?! There used to be this funny skit on SNL, and the premise was an average person getting on an elevator with a famous musician and then proceeding to recognize the rocker and sing all of his or her songs. The singer would be trapped in the elevator with a fan singing a medley of hits (usually off key). It was hilarious!! Too bad you didn’t know — you could have been singing “It’s the end of the World as We Know it!” on a lift! 🙂

  3. this is neat. saw john one time after a concert back 1985, and he was doing autoraphs. i wanted so much to have my picture taken with him, but i could tell he was tired and irritated due to signing autographs. when it came my turn i just smiled and said i would give him my autograph if he would give me his. caught him off gaurd. he kinda laughed and so we exchanged autographs.

    • How cool! What a great way to throw him for a little loop. I like that he had a sense of humor. I’m sure it gets old signing tons of autographs and posting for photos. Very cool that you saw him in concert in 1985 during the big years. I never saw him in concert…just walking on the beach, which was pretty cool Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

  4. wow what a great photo. yes john looks a bit agitated, but hes a big boy he can handle it, lol. im happy for you must of been an awesome moment, congrats!!!

    • Thanks for the comment, Star — yes, it was pretty surreal. I guess I’m glad I was with my pushy friend from Philadelphia because I never would have approached John on my own.

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