Sara Evans and Darius Rucker found a sweet way to perform a country classic in “Jackson” at the ACM 50th Anniversary show back in 2015.
Evans and Rucker were definitely taking on a challenge in performing the Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash number at the ACM’s “Super Duets” show. The backstory about this song, though, is quite interesting. It found a home in both the pop music and country music worlds.
“Jackson” was written by Billy Edd Wheeler and Jerry Leiber in 1963. Wheeler first recorded the song. The most recognizable versions were done in 1967, one by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood and the other one by Johnny and June Carter Cash.
The Sinatra-Hazlewood song reached No. 14 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart; the Cash collaboration reached No. 2 on the Billboard Country Charts.
Ask any country music fan, though, and they’ll tell you “Jackson” is now and forever belonging to Johnny and June.
Darius Rucker, Sara Evans Nail Cover
When looking at the song’s lyrics, it reflects the tug-of-war between a married couple. They look back at getting married quickly (“We got married in a fever/Hotter than a paper sprout”) and all of the issues that come up between them.
Take a look at the song’s first two verses, picturing Johnny and June singing this together.
“We got married in a fever
Hotter than a pepper sprout
We’ve been talkin’ ’bout Jackson
Ever since the fire went ou-out
I’m goin’ to Jackson, I’m gonna mess around
Yeah, I’m goin’ to Jackson, look out Ja-ackson town
Well, go on down to Jackson
Go ahead and wreck your-our health
Go play your hand you big-talkin’ man
Make a big fool o-of yourself
Yeah, go to Jackson, go comb your hair
Honey, I’m gonna snowball Jackson, see-ee if I-I care“
Now listen to Evans and Rucker perform this country classic back in 2015.
‘Jackson’ Brought Grammy Award To Cash
They started performing together in 1961 as part of Johnny Cash’s roadshow. In 1962, she co-wrote one of Cash’s biggest hits, “Ring Of Fire.”
When they recorded “Jackson,” the Grammy Awards considered it so good that the couple won one in 1967.
June Carter encouraged Johnny Cash to seek treatment for his drug addiction, and the couple married in 1968.
She continued to record popular duets with Cash as well as perform as a solo artist — she earned her first Grammy as a solo artist for Press On (1999) — and as a member of the Carter Family, which had re-formed in the 1950s.
Yet “Jackson” remains pretty attached to Johnny and June Carter Cash. Country music fans wouldn’t have it any other way.