Alan Jackson’s Emotional Hit ‘Remember When’: Story Behind the Country Tune

by Matthew Wilson
alan-jacksons-emotional-hit-remember-when-story-behind-country-tune

Alan Jackson gets tender in his classic song “Remember When” back in 2001. Featured on his “Greatest Hits Volume II,” the song topped the charts.

Like many of Jackson’s best songs, the country singer gets autobiographical. Jackson lays bare the good times and the bad, the highs and lows, and the moments passed in the tune. Written solely by Jackson, the song is a look back at his marriage to his wife as they enter their twilight years.

Lyrics include: “Remember when thirty seemed so old/ Now lookin’ back, it’s just a steppin’ stone/ To where we are, where we’ve been/ Said we’d do it all again/ Remember when.”

The music video featured Jackson in a room highlighted by all of his memories. Pictures from his childhood flash by as well as moments captured from his own children’s lives. During the video, the country singer also dances with his wife Denise amid the different flashing memories. The video is both heartwarming and also heartbreaking at the same time.

Alan Jackson Met His Wife As a Teenager

Alan Jackson and his wife Denise go way back. They knew each other before he ever became a famous country singer. The duo grew up in Newnan, Georgia. They met where else but a local Dairy Queen. And soon young love quickly blossomed between the two. Ironically, Denise’s maiden name was also Jackson. But the two married all the way back in December 1979.

Written entirely by Alan Jackson himself, the song serves as a source of reflection for the country singer, as he looked back on his life with his wife, Denise. It traces the early stages of their relationship all the way into their future together after their children have grown and moved away.

Six years after they married, the couple moved to Nashville. Jackson was going to try his hand at being a country music star. In the interim, Denise got a job as a flight attendant and supported her husband’s dream. It was this occupation and his wife that helped Jackson get discovered.

Denise spotted Glen Campbell at the airport. Fortune favors the bold, so she approached the musician and introduced herself. She told Campbell about her husband’s musical aspirations. And Campbell gave her a business card to his publishing company, which later signed Jackson to his first songwriting deal. That proved invaluable to Jackson getting his foot in the industry.

Ups and Downs

Things haven’t always been perfect for the Jacksons. But they’ve made it work. The couple had three daughters together in the 1990s. Professionally, Jackson’s debut album “Here in the Real World” took off, catapulting him to fame. With that money, he built a mansion for his family to live in.

But in 1998, Jackson announced they were separating due to strain related to fame. But rather than give up on the marriage, the couple decided to go to therapy. The experience ultimately proved to be beneficial for both of them, and they’ve strengthened their relationship

“God took our mess and made something wonderful out of it. It took us going through that to finally have the kind of relationship we both always wanted,” Denise said.

Meanwhile, in 2010, doctors diagnosed Denise with cancer. The couple struggled as Jackson’s wife battled the illness. The singer remained a source of strength for her. But he also confessed that he felt helpless because he couldn’t do anything to help her situation.

Denise eventually beat cancer. Over the years, Jackson and Denise have renewed their vows and appear to be happy together. The song “Remember When” remains a testament to their long and winding love story.

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