Alan Eugene Jackson (born October 17, 1958) is an American country music singer, known for blending traditional honky tonk and mainstream country sounds and penning many of his own hits. He has recorded 14 studio albums, three Greatest Hits albums, two Christmas albums, one Gospel album and several compilations, all on the Arista Nashville label. More than 50 of his singles have appeared on Billboard's list of the "Top 30 Country Songs". Of Jackson's entries, 35 were number-one hits, with 50 in the Top 10. He is the recipient of 2 Grammys, 16 CMA Awards, 17 ACM Awards and nominee of multiple other awards. He is a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2001. Jackson has sold more than 60 million records worldwide.
Jackson was born to Joseph Eugene Jackson and Ruth Musick in Newnan, Georgia, and has four older siblings. As a youth, Jackson listened primarily to gospel music. Otherwise he was not a major music fan. However, a friend of his introduced him to the music of Gene Watson, John Anderson and Hank Williams Jr. Jackson attended the local Elm Street Elementary and Newnan High School, starting a band after high school. After a time, he and his wife of six years, Denise Jackson, moved from Newnan to Nashville where Jackson hoped to pursue music full-time.
Jackson sang in church as a child. He, his father, mother, and four sisters lived in a small home. At one point, his bed was in the hallway for lack of room. His mother lives in the home to this day. His first job, at 12, was in a shoe store. He wrote his first song in 1983.
In Tennessee, Jackson got a job in The Nashville Network's mailroom. Denise got him connected to Glen Campbell, who helped him jumpstart his career. Jackson eventually signed with Arista.
His first album, 1989's Here in the Real World, was a major hit, as was his second (1991) album, Don't Rock the Jukebox. His 1992 album, A Lot About Livin' (And a Little 'Bout Love) was a success, spawning five major singles. Also in 1992, Randy Travis charted three singles co-written by Jackson: "Forever Together", "Better Class of Losers", and "I'd Surrender All". Conversely, Travis co-wrote Jackson's single "She's Got the Rhythm (And I Got the Blues)".
In 1994 Jackson left his management company, Ten Ten Management, which had overseen his career up to that point, and switched to Gary Overton.
It was around this time that Jackson began also gaining fame for his song-writing skills. Other country music artists who have charted with songs co-written by Jackson, including Clay Walker ("If I Could Make a Living"), Chely Wright ("Till I Was Loved By You") and Faith Hill ("I Can't Do That Anymore").
His first album, 1990's Here in the Real World, was a major hit, as was his second (1991) album, Don't Rock the Jukebox. His 1992 release, A Lot About Livin' (And a Little 'Bout Love) was a smash success, spawning five major singles with "Chattahoochee" being the most enduring and successful. After a few more hit albums, Jackson again rocketed to fame with "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," a song about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which became a hit single and briefly propelled him into the mainstream spotlight; the song was even the subject of parody on the popular animated series South Park, in the episode A Ladder To Heaven.
The Long Way To Go Songfacts states that on January 20, 2011 Alan Jackson and his record label, Sony, parted ways after over 20 years. Three months later a new joint venture between Capitol's EMI Records Nashville and ACR (Alan's Country Records) was announced. His debut single from the new deal was Long Way To Go, which was shipped to Country radio on June 13, 2011.
Although Jackson has been characterized as a "hat act", his influences go deep into the roots of country music and his songs have been recorded by some of the greats like Charley Pride, who recorded "Here In The Real World". He has sung with George Jones on the award-winning "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair". His sense of humor comes through in "Gone Country" with the satirical description of the wannabes who cynically jumped on the country music bandwagon in the 1990s: "Everybody's gone country/Yeah we've gone country/The whole world's gone country."
He has been credited for popularizing a Neotraditional Country sound.
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