I Need a Lover

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"I Need a Lover"
Johnny Cougar I Need a Lover Single.jpg
Single by John Cougar
from the album John Cougar
B-side"Welcome to Chinatown"
1979 (U.S.)
Recorded1978 at AIR Studios, London, England[1]
Length5:38,[1] 3:30 (Single)
Songwriter(s)John Mellencamp
Producer(s)John Punter[1]
John Cougar singles chronology
"I Need a Lover"

"I Need a Lover" is a rock song written by John Mellencamp and first released by him under the stage name "Johnny Cougar".


It appeared on his 1978 album A Biography, which was not released in the United States.[2] After becoming a Top 10 hit in Australia, the song was later included on his 1979 follow-up album John Cougar[3] to introduce it to U.S. audiences, and was released there as a single, becoming his first U.S. Top 40 hit when it reached No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1979.[4]

AllMusic reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine described "I Need a Lover" as Mellencamp's "first good song".[2]

On his inspiration for writing "I Need a Lover", Mellencamp said: "The song's about a friend of mine who goes to Concordia College. When that song was written, he was pretty sad. He was . . . livin’ in his bedroom. I told him, ‘You got to get the hell out of the house!’ He’d say, ‘Man, if I only had a girl, she’d make me forget my problems.’ I just said, ‘Well . . . ’"

Mellencamp has also stated that "I Need a Lover" was inspired by the Rolling Stones' 1972 song "Happy".

Cover version[]

Pat Benatar version[]

"I Need a Lover"
Pat Benatar I Need a Lover Single.jpg
Single by Pat Benatar
from the album In the Heat of the Night
B-side"No You Don't"
ReleasedMarch 8, 1980
Songwriter(s)John Mellencamp
Pat Benatar singles chronology
"We Live for Love"
"I Need a Lover"
"Rated X"

The song was covered and released as the debut single in 1980 by American rock singer Pat Benatar for her debut studio album, In the Heat of the Night (1979). The song became an album-oriented rock radio hit for the singer and has been part of the live set list on tour. Chrysalis Records released a live music video for the song, released in 1981.

Popular culture[]


  1. ^ Jump up to: a b c The Best That I Could Do 1978–1988 (CD liner). John Mellencamp. U.S.: Mercury Records. 1997. p. 9. 314 536 738-2.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b "John Cougar: A Biography: review". Allmusic. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  3. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "John Cougar: A Biography: review". Allmusic. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (8th ed.). Billboard Books. p. 418. ISBN 0-8230-7499-4.
  5. ^ Modell, Josh (August 12, 2014). "Hamilton Leithauser covers John Cougar (and he's playing A.V. Fest)". The A.V. Club. Onion, Inc. Retrieved August 12, 2014.

External links[]

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