In the mid-90s, country music was undergoing a boom. Megastars like Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt, Shania Twain and many others were selling millions of albums and selling out stadiums across the country. Country dominated the culture in a lot of ways, and much of the success of the genre today began then. Alan Jackson captured that excitement felt in the industry with his hit “Gone Country,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts 26 years ago today (Jan. 28.)
The song has three verses, each tells a different story. The first is about a lounge singer in Las Vegas. The second features a folk singer in Greenwich Village. And the last is about a composer in Los Angeles. Their situations are different but their fates are the same. They’re unsuccessful, unhappy, and unfulfilled so they turn to country music.
Aside from literally singing the praises of the genre’s popularity, it’s also about how country music accepts all comers. Everyone is welcome in Nashville.
Bob McDill, who also wrote a couple of Don Williams’ hits and Pam Tillis’ “All the Good Ones are Gone,” penned the song for Jackson. Something Jackson was jealous of because he wishes he’d written the hit song.
“When I first heard this song I fell in love with it,” Jackson said, according to SongFacts.com. “I wish that I’d written it, ’cause it says a lot of things that I’d like to say. I think it’s just a fun song actually, celebrating how country music has become more widespread and accepted by all types of people all over the country.”
The song was on Alan Jackson’s four-times platinum album Who I Am. That album featured four No. 1 hits, including “Summertime Blues,” “Livin’ on Love,” and “I Don’t Even Know Your Name” along with “Gone Country.” It also landed him ACM Male Vocalist of the Year for 1995 and CMA Entertainer of the Year.