Alan Jackson was born on October 17, 1958, in Newnan, Georgia. After marrying his wife in 1979, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, with one goal, a career in country music. It took eleven years before Arista Records offered him a recording contract. The same year he released “Here in the Real World.” Jackson’s style was a departure from pop-country offerings from the 80s. The success of his first album paved the way for even more successful albums. “Don’t Rock the Jukebox released in 1991, and A Lot About Livin’ (and a LIttle “Bout Love), released in 1992, both produced five number one hits each. By the time he released his fourth album, “Who I Am” in 1994, Jackson’s record sales topped 10 million. Throughout his career, he has won numerous awards, including CMA Entertainer of the Year several times. He also won a Grammy for his moving song “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” in 2001. Additionally, he received four CMA awards that year, the same amount of wins in a single year as Johnny Cash. In 2006 he recorded “Precious Memories,” dedicated to his mother. His latest album is “Angels and Alcohol,” recorded in 2015. Since Alan Jackson’s career is over three decades-long, he’s written and recorded many amazing songs. These are the top 10 best Alan Jackson songs of all time.
This song focuses on Jackson’s youth and experiences growing up in a small town. Jim McBride co-wrote the song, which also parallels some of his own experiences. The song’s title comes from a poem McBride knew, Song of the Chattahoochie by Sydney Lanier. The song went on to be Jackson’s first single to make the Billboard Hot 100. Additionally, he won CMA awards for Single and Song of the Year.
9. Here In The Real World
Jackson’s first album was a huge commercial success, and this song was the second single and also his first Top 10 Country hit. He co-wrote it with Mark Irwin. It peaked at #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks and #1 on the Canadian RPM Top Country Tracks charts. Later, George Jones, Glen Campbell, and Charley Pride all covered the song.
8. Don’t Rock The Jukebox
This song was from Jackson’s 1991 album “Don’t Rock the Jukebox,” co-written with Keith Stegall and Roger Murrah. The song peaked at #1, his second in a row. He received an ASCAP award for Country Song of the Year. Later, Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song on their album “Chipmunks in Low Places.”
7. Drive (For Daddy Gene)
Jackson wrote and recorded this song as a tribute to his father, Eugene Jackson, who died on January 31, 2000. Jackson’s lyrics are some of his best childhood memories with his father, as well as some of the ones he had with his daughters while they were growing up. It reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks and peaking at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100. CMT Giants honored Jackson’s career, and Taylor Swift sang this song to tribute him and his career.
6. Chasing that Neon Rainbow
Ironically, one of Alan Jackson’s first hit songs was about what it was like before he was famous. According to Outsider, when co-writer Jim McBride approached Jackson with the song, he thought it was far from what he wanted to show him. Together they crafted the version fans know today. “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” is the fourth single from his first album, “Here in the Real World.” Aside from Jackson’s personal quest in the music industry, it’s also an inspirational song about pursuing your dreams. It peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks Charts.
5. Mercury Blues
K.C. Douglas and Robert Giddins wrote the song in 1949, originally titled “Mercury Boogie.” Jackson’s cover peaked at #2 on the Country charts. He performed the song on Home Improvement in 1996. His music video features another country music great, Keith Urban. Steve Miller Band, David Lindley, and Meatloaf have also covered this song.
4. It’s All About Him
Alan Jackson and his wife Denise were high school sweethearts, married in 1979. In 2007, she wrote an autobiography; It’s All About Him: Finding the Love of My Life. Despite the book’s name, it’s not directly about Alan but about finding a connection with her source. Her raw honesty so moved Alan he sat down and wrote a song with the same title to add to her powerful words.
3. Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)
September 11, 2001, was one of the greatest tragedies on American soil. Many artists, including Jackson, wrote songs to help process troubling emotions and grief. However, Jackson’s music doesn’t dwell on the tragedy as it invites people to return to a simpleness in their day and appreciate each moment like it might be one of their last. One of the most profound lyrics in the song is, “I’m just a singer of simple songs; I’m not a real political man.” The raw honesty in that line is wholly relatable and helped people through a time of social unrest.
2. Midnight in Montgomery
According to Billboard, Jackson’s 1992 song was about Hank Williams Jr. Not only did the song lyrics pay tribute to the country legend, but the video also was a stunning tribute to a singer who influenced Jackson’s career. The video was done in black and white giving it a haunting and ethereal vibe that matched the song’s tone.
1. Gone Country
This was Jackson’s tenth #1 hit. The lyrics speak to people who may have grown up listening to other genres of music but find themselves drawn to country music because it is more authentic than other genres. Even though he didn’t write the song, he connected to it profoundly and wished he had written it. Jackson is a true artist. When asked to lip-sync the song at the 1994 CMA awards, he felt uneasy. To protest, his drummer performed with no sticks during the performance.