2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for longtime country music fan favorite Alan Jackson. He continues his well-received tour with Lee Ann Womack, playing venues across the United States, playing hit after hit for more than two hours a night.
In October, the singer will be enshrined – along with songwriter Don Schlitz and Jerry Reed – as one of the new members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, ensuring that his music will continue to be celebrated for as long as fans love country music and want to know about its’ heritage. Over the course of his career, Jackson has given fans some of the format’s greatest moments. Billboard takes a look at ten of his finest moments on record!
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10. Alan Jackson – “Chattahoochee”
The number one rule for a songwriter is often said to write what you are familiar with. If that’s so, no Alan Jackson song did that task better than his 1993 summer anthem that sent country fans down rivers, lakes, or oceans in their backyards – while paying homage to a river in his native Georgia, where it gets “hotter than a hoochie-coochie.”
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9. Alan Jackson – ?“Midnight In Montgomery”
Always one to tip the hat to the legends that inspired him, this 1992 hit about Hank Williams remains one of his most haunting melodies. Just like with many of his biggest hits, the video helped tell the story of this one, reminding newer country fans of the heritage of the format.
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8. Alan Jackson – “Home”
Many of Jackson’s finest records were inspired by his family, and this one drew its’ inspiration from his parents and the example that they set for him growing up. It was definitely a case of a song waiting for its’ time. He included it on his 1990 debut album, and then included it on his first Greatest Hits disc in 1995….and the rest was history.
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7. Alan Jackson – “Little Man”
Jackson seemed to only grow as a storyteller as his career continued, and this 1999 hit definitely was an example of an artist knowing his audience. The lyrics about bidding farewell to small-town America were Jackson at his Merle Haggard-inspired best. And, once again, the video, completely shot in black and white, brilliantly told the story of a disappearing lifestyle, all in the four-and-a-half minutes of this Alan Jackson song.
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6. Alan Jackson – “Here In The Real World”
Jackson’s first top ten hit was one for the ages. Released when the singer was trying to distinguish himself from the crowded “Class of ‘89,” this song remains not just a Jackson standard, but the heartbreaking ballad lamenting how love wasn’t quite like Hollywood portrayed it remains one of the format’s all-time best.
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5. Alan Jackson – “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow”
Another classic from his debut disc, this one takes on new meaning for the singer this year. The opening line says ‘Daddy Won A Radio / He Tuned It To A Country Show.’ That means of communication, which Jackson heard so many of his heroes for the first time, now resides in the Country Music Hall of Fame – the same building that Jackson’s plaque will adorn later in 2017.
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4. Alan Jackson – “I’ll Go On Loving You”
One of few songs on this list to not include Jackson’s name as a writer, this Kieran Kane composition was one of his more sensual performances of all time – a little bit of a stretch from the ‘aw shucks’ type material that he was best known for. One of the aspects of this song that set it apart was Jackson speaking the verses. It’s definitely one of the most underrated performances in his catalog.
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3. Alan Jackson – “Drive (For Daddy Gene)”
Another song in the Jackson arsenal that was influenced by his relationship with his father, this one brought back memories of sons taking that first trip behind the wheel with their father. Simple and direct, this one shot to the top of the charts – and right through the hearts of country fans throughout the nation.
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2. Alan Jackson – “Gone Country”
Jackson turned to Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Bob McDill for this song that was reflective of a time period where many artists were coming to Music City from New York, Los Angeles, and all points in between. Jackson told the press that he definitely understood the appeal of the format to newcomers, and welcomed them all to town. Even so, there was a little bit of gently-placed sarcasm on this one, which helped to make it yet another number one Alan Jackson song.
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1. Alan Jackson – “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)”
While it’s not the song of Jackson’s that you will find at a wedding – or on a dance floor – he achieved the number one goal of a songwriter with his heartfelt lyrics about the events of Sept. 11, 2001. The singer wrote a song that spoke for hundreds of millions of his fellow Americans – regardless of musical genre, race, creed, or religion – the mark of a great composition and composer.
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