On This Day: Alan Jackson Releases Second No. 1 Song ‘Don’t Rox the Jukebox’ in 1991

by Emily Morgan

Alan Jackson is an undeniable hitmaker. Since the early ’90s, he’s cranked out hit after hit — and his upcoming album makes us think he nowhere near slowing down. A song, arguably responsible for cementing his career from a singer to a country music superstar, is his classic, “Don’t Rock the Jukebox.” 

In 1991, Jackson released the record, and with that, he officially put himself on the map as a country music stylist unlike any other. Along with Jackson, Roger Murrah and Keith Stegall co-wrote the tune. 

While he’s gone on to have a string of No. 1 hits, this was his second consecutive No. 1 single on the U.S. Billboard “Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts,” following “I’d Love You All Over Again.” Jackson also released it as the lead single from the album of the same name. 

The background behind the song is a simple country music song about heartbreak. The narrator is a heartbroken man who wants to listen to some classic country songs from George Jones rather than the Rolling Stones. We all know that country music has some of the greatest songs about love gone wrong (George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today” or Willie Nelson’s sorrowful “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain.”) For Alan Jackson’s hit, it’s an undeniable breakup song: 

“Don’t rock the jukebox
I want to hear some Jones
‘Cause my heart ain’t ready
For the Rolling Stones
I don’t feel like rockin’
Since my baby’s gone
So don’t rock the jukebox
Play me a country song” 

Alan Jackson Tributes Country Icon in Music Video

Even the music video was a cinematic success. Beginning in black and white, Jackson opens the video by describing how the song came to be: 

“I wanna tell you a little story about an incident that happened on the road a couple years ago when me and my band, The Strayhorns, were playing this little truck stop lounge up in Doswell, Virginia, a place called Geraldine’s. We’d been there for four or five nights, you know, playing those dance sets. It’d been a long night, I took a break and walked over to the jukebox. Roger, my bass player, was already over there reading the records, you know. I leaned up on the corner of it and one of the legs was broken off, jukebox kind of wobbling around, you know. And Roger looked up at me and said…”.

Later, an unknown figure in the shadows nods his head and taps to the beat while seated at a nearby table. Several people come and dance in front of the jukebox during the song, including Hal Smith, which some have surmised he’s reprising his role as Otis Campbell from “The Andy Griffith Show.”

By the end of the video, the seated mystery man morphs into George Jones, who is very clearly an inspiration for Alan Jackson’s song and his career. After its release, fans were delighted to see Jones made his cameo appearance in the music video, smiling in a diner booth as Jackson honored him with his song.