Rocker John Mellencamp quit Columbia Records after an executive at the label allegedly made a racist remark in a meeting.
The Jack & Diane singer famously left the company in 2001, but he has never really spoken about the rift that led to his departure - until now.
During an appearance on shock jock Howard Stern's Sirius XM show on Wednesday (01Mar17), the singer/songwriter revealed he knew it was time to move on after a confrontation with one of his bosses.
"I'm gonna tell you a story, Howard, that I don't think I've ever told anywhere," Mellencamp told Stern, recalling a meeting his manager had with an unnamed executive over his 2001 collaboration with India.Arie, Peaceful World.
"It was climbing up the charts... right before 9/11," he said. "My manager went in and was talking to the record company and the president of the record company... said, 'I don't know why Mellencamp insists on having these (N-words) singing with him. It makes it impossible to get him (on radio)."
The rocker's manager relayed the chat to Mellencamp and revealed Columbia Records Senior VP/Marketing & Media Larry Jenkins lost his job for standing up to his boss.
"And don't forget, all of Columbia was making their money off of rap at the time and hip-hop," he told Stern. "And here was this guy using that word.
"My next call was to (lawyer) Allen Grubman and I just said, 'Get me off this label... now'."
Mellencamp recorded his 2003 blues and folk covers album Trouble No More in order to wrap up his deal with the label.