On This Day: Alan Jackson Releases Timeless #1 ‘Remember When’ in 2003

by Shelby Scott
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Alan Jackson, one of country music’s premiere artists of the 1990s, kicked off his career several decades ago in 1989. He released his first single, “Blue Blooded Woman,” that same year, though it never topped charts. The iconic country artist later reached No. 3 on the Top 40 Hot Country Songs in 1990 with “Here in the Real World.”

Nevertheless, despite his delayed start in country music, Alan Jackson remains one of the genre’s top names decades after his arrival to the music scene. Now, on this chilly October day, Jackson released his heartfelt #1 song “Remember When” 18 years ago. Despite its age, it holds its grip on raw emotion and purity, a value true country music fans hold dear.

While the 63-year-old country icon recently released his latest double-album, Where Have You Gone, “Remember When” comes off of Jackson’s earlier compilation album, Greatest Hits Volume II. The gentle ballad, released in 2003, saw its peak at No. 1 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs Chart in 2004.

“Remember When” takes the cake for its emotional composition, gentle lyrical pattern, and simple acoustic tone. However, it’s the fact that the hit single was an Alan Jackson solo write that contributes to its meaningfulness. Immediately, the moving opening lines “Remember when I was young and so were you” acts as a metaphorical time machine. The collection of words bring country music fans back to the raw simplicity of young love.

The remainder of the song reflects on the artist’s genuine relationship with his wife. Reflecting first on the couple’s initial flames, the ballad soon explores the milestones of the Jacksons’ partnership, from having children to watching those same children grow into adults and begin their own lives.

Alan Jackson Leaves Behind the ‘Grind’ of Rising Country Stars

“Remember When” has made its mark on country music history as one of the star’s most iconic hits. Now, decades after his career kickstart, 26 No. 1 hits, and 14 No. 1 albums, Alan Jackson finally has the room to breathe and explore his freedom within the country music genre.

In speaking with the Today Show‘s Jenna Bush Hager, Jackson shared, “I feel a little more freedom now because I’m not trying to worry about getting on the radio and fitting into their limitations.” While contemporary artists struggle to attain fame within the genre in an era that has far pushed the boundaries of country, Alan Jackson is able to focus more on those values important to him.

Throughout his career in the ’90s and ’00s, Jackson worked to maintain a certain level of classical country values and sounds within his music. While those values feature prominently in “Remember When,” they also debut in other hits like “Chattahoochee,” “Chasin’ that Neon Rainbow,” and so many others.

Now, as Jackson has officially left his boot print on country music, the star leaves behind a legacy of his own. The singer’s wife of 41 years, Denise, expressed the importance of Jackson’s songs as they will demonstrate for the couple’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren the kind of person he was, as well as the origins of their family.

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