The most -performed country music songwriter-artist in ASCAP’s first 100 years
With 35 No. 1 country hits since his 1989 debut including 26 he’s written or co-written like “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” (1991) and “Chattahoochee” (1993)—both earning Billboard song-of-the-year citations—and “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” his 2001 response to 9-11 that won multiple awards at the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Awards, including Song of the Year, and also earned him his first Grammy Award for Best Country Song, Alan Jackson is certainly one of the most successful and important country music songwriters and performers of his time.
But besides writing or co-writing hits for other country artists like Chely Wright, Randy Travis (including “Forever Together” and “Better Class of Losers”), Faith Hill (the No. 1 “I Can’t Do That Anymore”) and Clay Walker (the No. 1 “If I Could Make a Livin’”), Jackson has covered songs honoring his favorite singers (including Charley Pride, George Jones, Merle Haggard and Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard and George Jones) while winning over 50 ASCAP awards for his own writing. Altogether, the Newnan, Georgia native, who humbly claims to be just a “singer of simple songs,” has sold close to 60 million albums worldwide, placing him among the 10 best-selling male vocalists ever in all genres.
Jackson actually grew up singing gospel music in church while listening to records by the likes of Gene Watson and Hank Williams Jr. He performed in a country duo with a friend as a teenager and plied the local club circuit while working different jobs after high school—and writing songs. After his wife—a flight attendant—spotted Glen Campbell at an airport and gave him a copy of Jackson’s demo tape, they moved to Nashville and followed Campbell’s advice to sing more demos and hone his songwriting skills. He was signed as Arista/Nashville’s first country artist in 1989, and his debut album Here in the Real World yielded four Top 5 hits in the title track, “Wanted,” “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” and the chart-topping “I’d Love You All Over Again.”
Jackson has since consistently written and recorded hits while hewing to his neo-traditional country styling. His songs have broached bluegrass, Cajun, honky-tonk, gospel, western swing and country balladry, earning him over 150 music industry awards. In 2014 he received the first-ever ASCAP Heritage Award (the most -performed country music songwriter-artist in ASCAP’s first 100 years, he has also received the performing rights organization’s Founders and Golden Note Awards), and in 2012 was bestowed the Academy of Country Music’s Jim Reeves International Award for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world.
A Grand Ole Opry member since 1991 (inducted by Roy Acuff and Randy Travis), Jackson was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001, and in 2017, the Country Music Hall of Fame.