On This Day: Alan Jackson Tops the Chart With ‘Biggest’ Hit of His Career in 2003

by Jim Casey

With 26 No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it’s difficult to definitively determine the “biggest” hit of Alan Jackson’s career. But the Country Music Hall of Fame member’s 2003 smash hit with Jimmy Buffett, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” certainly has the “big” metrics to back up the claim.

Jimmy and Alan made the “anytime is a good time for a drink” theme a winner when they released “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” on June 2, 2003. Two months later on Aug. 9, the tune reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, becoming Alan’s 21st chart-topper.

Pour Me Something Tall and Strong

Penned by Jim Brown and Don Rollins, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” was featured as a new track on Alan’s 2003 compilation album, Greatest Hits Volume II.

“I had the idea from a guy that I used to teach school within Texas,” said Don Rollins to Country Weekly in 2004. “He would want to get a beer in the early afternoon after class. And he would always say, ‘Well, it’s five o’clock somewhere.’ I remembered that as being a good line.”

Don got together with his friend, studio musician Jim Brown, for a songwriting session. Jim came up with the island melody, evoking Buffett’s trademark sound, while Don worked on the lyrics. The songwriting tandem completed the breezy tune and pitched it around Nashville until Alan Jackson’s management team bit.

“Alan was actually looking for something he could sing with Jimmy Buffett,” also added Don. “They took it to Alan in March [2003], and he and Jimmy cut it. What a twist of fate.”

Alan Jackson: ‘Biggest’ Hitting Metrics

So why does “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” constitute Alan Jackson’s “biggest” hit? We’re glad you asked.

“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart on Aug. 9, 2003. The tune spent seven consecutive weeks at No. 1, before Dierks Bentley’s “What Was I Thinkin'” dethroned it. However, the following week, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” returned to No. 1.

With a reign of eight weeks at No. 1, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” is Alan’s longest-tenured chart-topper.

In addition, the tune became Alan’s only Top 20 hit on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart when it reached No. 17 in September 2003.

“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” is also one of four of Alan’s singles to be certified Gold by the RIAA for sales of 500,000 units, joining “Chattahoochee,” “Remember When,” and “Good Time.”

Finally, the song earned Alan and Jimmy the CMA Award for Vocal Event of the Year in 2003.

That’s a big hit. Dare we say, the “biggest”? Yes, yes, we do.