Country Throwback: Watch Alan Jackson Perform ‘Here in the Real World’ at Farm-Aid 1990

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Back in early April 1990, Alan Jackson wasn’t the superstar country singer like he is today. He was one of many acts booked for Farm Aid at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis.

Jackson sang the title song from his debut album, “Here in the Real World.”

“I’d like to dedicate this to all the farmers,” Jackson said, “because they wake up in the real world every morning.”

Jackson sang the story as if he was a guy just off work. He’d popped a beer and settled in on the back porch, talking quietly about how the boy doesn’t necessarily get the girl.

The chorus “But here in the real world/It’s not that easy at all. ‘Cause when hearts get broken/It’s real tears that fall. And darlin’ it’s sad but true. But the one thing I’ve learned from you, Is how the boy don’t always get the girl.”

Jackson’s first album propelled him to stardom. It produced five singles: “Blue Blooded Woman,” “Here in the Real World,” “Wanted,” “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” and “I’d Love You All Over Again.” By 1994, the album was double platinum.

Back in 1990, Farm Aid still was relatively new. Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and Neil Young organized the concert in 1985 to raise money to help folks keep and maintain their family farms.

Alan Jackson Was One of Many To Perform at Farm Aid

Given how huge Jackson is in the music business now, it seems odd to imagine a time he wasn’t a headliner for a concert like Farm Aid. There were more than 70 acts, including Nelson, Elton John and Garth Brooks.

According to Farm Aid, the 1990 concert sold out in 90 minutes. It featured a new message: “the well-being of our land, food and water supply depends on a network of family farmers who care about how our food is grown.”

The Nashville Network carried the concert live. CBS repackaged it into a two-hour special. More than 10 million watched the show.

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