Happy Birthday Alan Jackson: Celebrating the Man Who Caught the Neon Rainbow

by Clayton Edwards
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Chasin’ that neon rainbow, livin’ that honky-tonk dream. / ‘Cause all I’ve ever wanted is to pick this guitar and sing. ” Alan Jackson sang those lines 31 years ago on his debut album. Today, Jackson is one of the foremost names in country music. Over the course of his long career, he has penned and recorded the soundtrack to many of our lives. At the same time, he shared touching pieces of his story with the world.

Alan Jackson holds a special place in the hearts of many country music fans. His sales and accolades reflect just how much he means to the genre and its fans. To date, Jackson has notched 35 chart-topping singles. He’s also one of the best-selling musicians of all time with over 75 million record sales under his belt. Jackson is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame among others. He did all of that by recording music that he wanted to hear.

Today, Alan Jackson turns 63 years old. To celebrate, let’s look back at some of the best songs he’s given us over the years.

“I’d Love You All Over Again”: Alan Jackson’s First Chart-Topper

I’d Love You All Over Again,” hit the airwaves in January of 1991. It was Alan Jackson’s fifth single overall. However, it was the first to reach the top of the charts. Jackson penned the song in 1987 while waiting to play a show in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He and his wife Denise had been married for ten years at the time. To me, the fact that Jackson notched his first number one with a song about their marriage makes this one a little more special.

“Chattahoochee”

I’m pretty sure I’d be breaking some kind of law if I didn’t include “Chattahoochee” in this list. Alan Jackson released the song in May of 1993 as the third single from his third studio album A Lot About Livin’ (And a Little ‘bout Love). At the time, Jackson didn’t think it would be a smash hit. However, the lyrics about coming of age in a small town resonated with country fans and continues to do so. Today, it’s Jackson’s signature song.

“Small Town Southern Man” Alan Jackson Sings About His Roots

This was Alan Jackson’s 23rd chart-topping single and the lead single from his fifteenth album Good Time. By then, he was a bona fide star but this song shows that he never forgot where he came from. While there are plenty of details in the song that harken back to his own life, he said that wasn’t the point. He wrote the song for everyone who grew up in a small-town working-class family. According to Songfacts, Jackson said, “That song translates really well all over the country… Everywhere you go there are regular people just like where I grew up in Georgia.”

Alan Jackson caught the Neon Rainbow he was chasing all those years ago and the country music world is better for it. Happy birthday Mr. Jackson, here’s to many more.

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