Alan Jackson

As a songwriter, recording artist, and performer, Alan Jackson brought tradition-rich country music into the twenty-first century.​

Birth: October 17, 1958
Birthplace: Newnan, Georgia

Jackson, a three-time Country Music Association (CMA) Entertainer of the Year and a Grand Ole Opry member since 1991, has sold more than sixty million albums worldwide and released twenty-six Billboard #1 country singles, most of which he wrote or co-wrote. His often-autobiographical songs are marked by humility, humor, and eloquent simplicity.

A Georgia native, Jackson moved to Nashville in the mid-1980s. He worked in the mailroom of The Nashville Network (TNN) and as a demo singer while he honed his songwriting skills.

He was the first artist signed to Arista Nashville, and in 1990, the label released his debut album, Here in the Real World, which yielded four Top Five singles, including the title track, “Wanted,” “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow,” and “I’d Love You All Over Again.”

Throughout his recording career, Jackson has abided by a simple edict: “Keep it country.” He has taken pokes at the music industry, penning “Three Minute Positive Not Too Country Up-Tempo Love Song” and recording hits like “Gone Country” and “Murder on Music Row,” a CMA award-winning duet with George Strait. Jackson has also revived songs recorded by Country Music Hall of Fame members Jim Ed Brown (“Pop a Top”), Tom T. Hall (“Little Bitty”), George Jones (“Tall, Tall Trees”), and Don Williams (“It Must Be Love”).

As a songwriter, Jackson’s gems include “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow,” “Drive (For Daddy Gene),” “Livin’ on Love,” and “Remember When,” all of which mined personal experience in communicating communal truths.

His poignant and plainspoken “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” written after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, won a Best Country Song Grammy. The CMA and the Academy of Country Music (ACM) named it Song of the Year and Single of the Year.

Jackson won his second Grammy in 2011 when “As She’s Walking Away,” a Zac Brown Band hit that he sang on, was named Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. In 2014, performing rights organization ASCAP presented Jackson with its Heritage Award, recognizing him as the most-performed country music songwriter-artist of the past hundred years.

In 2014, Jackson was named the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s twelfth annual artist-in-residence; the residency honors a musical master who has contributed a large and significant body of work to the American popular music canon. The same year, the museum opened the exhibit Alan Jackson: 25 Years of Keepin’ It Country.

Jackson was elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018. — Janet E. Williams

— Adapted from the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s Encyclopedia of Country Music, published by Oxford University Press.

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