Alan Jackson's Career:
• Worked various jobs until signing a publishing contract with Tree International in 1989
• Released his debut album “Here in the Real World” in 1990
• Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017
• Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010
• Launched his own whiskey brand “Silverbelly Whiskey” in 2022
• Married to Denise since 1979
• Three daughters: Mattie, Alexandra and Dannie
• Diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder in 2011
• Estimated net worth of $150 million as of late 2022
Alan Jackson is one of the most successful country singers of all time. Throughout his thirty-year-long career, he’s released more than 20 albums, which have sold over 75 million units worldwide. He’s known for his eclectic mix of traditional country music with other genres – a style now known as neotraditional country. His works had a major influence on modern country music, changing the landscape of the genre forever.
While his career has been smooth sailing, Alan’s private life wasn’t as perfect as it seemed. From a troubling marriage to health concerns, Jackson was forced to change his way of life forever. In 2021, he opened up about his Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder diagnosis, which may put him out of touring.
Alan Jackson’s career
Alan Jackson was born in Newnan, Georgia, in 1958. His father Joseph Jackson was a mechanic, while young Alan took his musical talents from his mother, Ruth, who was also a singer. His parents divorced when he was a young child, so he was primarily raised by his mother and grandparents.
Alan first began singing in church at a young age, and learned how to play the guitar at 14 years old. After matriculating high school in 1976, he worked various jobs including being a bouncer at a bar, which led him to meeting a lot of fellow musicians, and joining a band called Dixie Steel. The band had some success, frequently performing in local venues, but Alan eventually left them to pursue other interests.
At 27 years old, Alan and his wife Denise, moved to Nashville, Tennessee, so that he could finally pursue a country music career. He soon signed a publishing contract with Tree International, and also began writing songs for other country artists.
Jackson’s first demo album, fittingly entitled “New Traditional”, saw the light of the day in 1987, but unfortunately was never properly released in the US, and only had a limited release in Japan, where it’s now considered a rarity.
Jackson signed a recording contract with Arista Nashville in 1989, and his first album, “Here in the Real World”, was released a year later; the album’s lead single, “Here in the Real World”, was a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
Success through 1990s and 2000s
Alan was inducted into One Ole Opry in 1991, which is one of the highest honors for any country musician. In the following years, he released more honky-tonk inspired albums, such as “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” (1991) and “A Lot About Livin’ (A Little ’Bout Love)” (1992), producing some of his most well-known songs, such as “Who I Am” and “Chattahoochee”.
Jackson’s 1999 album “Under the Influence” was a tribute to his musical inspirations, and featured his covers of songs by other country artists, including Gene Watson, Merle Haggard and Charley Pride. In 2001, Alan released a song about the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks entitled “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)” -it won numerous awards that year, including the Grammy for Best Country Song.
Although his 2006 albums “Precious Memories” and “Like Red on a Rose” were dominated by songs written by other artists, “Good Time” (2008) further cemented his status as one of the best country music songwriters.
Jackson won another Grammy in 2011, this time for his collaboration with Zac Brown Band on “As She’s Walking Away” (2010). His numerous other awards include three Country Music Association (CMA) titles of Entertainer of the Year, in 1995, 2002 and 2003). In 2010, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and seven years later, his 30-year-long career culminated in him being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
— Alan Jackson (@OfficialJackson) August 12, 2021
Friendship with fellow country singers
It’s no secret how much Alan loves and appreciates some of his colleagues. For years he’s maintained a very close friendship with the late George Jones (known for “He Stopped Living Her Today” and “White Lightning”). Alan mentions George in many of his songs, including “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” and “Just Playin’ Possum”.
By the time the two met, Alan had been admiring George for a long time. In 1989, when Jackson landed his first record deal, Jones already had over 50 albums and singles behind him, and was one of Alan’s biggest idols. He’s revealed that he was heavily inspired by George’s work, particularly the song “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, which he considered to be one of the greatest country songs of all time.
The appreciation was very much mutual – shortly before his death in 2013, George wrote a letter to Alan which was later published in the magazine “Taste of Country”, and in which George talked lovingly about all the time they’d spent together, and invited Alan to perform with him in a show. Unfortunately, he passed away before the chance even arose; Alan instead performed at his commemorative ceremony at Grand Ole Opry.
Jackson is also close friends with George Strait – aka ‘the King of Country’. The two have performed together on several occasions, while Strait is featured on Alan’s song “Murder on Music Row”.
He almost divorced his wife at one point
Behind the scenes, Jackson is a devout Christian and a family man. Alan and his wife Denise have been married since 1979 – a long-lasting marriage which is rare to see among celebrity couples. They have three daughters together – Mattie, Alexandra and Dannie.
The two met as teenagers, and were high school sweethearts. Denise was always supportive of Alan’s ambitions, and has played a major role in his career success. Namely, early on in their marriage, she was working as a flight attendant, when one day she spotted the legendary country singer Glenn Campbell at the airport, and approached him to tell him about her husband who was just an aspiring musician at the time. Campbell gave her a business card to his publishing company, which later signed Alan for his first songwriting deal.
Celebrating 38 years today and still livin' on love….
As Alan’s career grew through the 1990s, he built a massive plantation-style mansion for his family; on the outside, everything seemed to be going perfectly for the couple.
However, in 1997, Alan and Denise were at the brink of divorce. Due to the nature of his career, Alan spent a lot of time away from his family, and at some point stopped being faithful to his wife. They briefly separated, but reconciled with the help of couple’s counseling. Jackson has since released several songs about this experience, some of them being “Remember When” and “She Likes It Too”.
Denise, on the other hand, spoke about her brief separation from Alan in her autobiographical book “It’s All About Him: Finding the Love of My Life”, which was published in 2007. She further talked about how her Christian faith has helped her navigate the difficult times, saying ‘His betrayal and our separation were what led to this new, passionate love relationship with God, and also led to us to being able to have the kind of marriage that we both always wanted, but just didn’t know how to have.’
In 2010, Alan and Denise went through another challenging time as a couple, after she received her cancer diagnosis. After two long years of treatments, Denise was proclaimed cancer-free, and has fully recovered. Speaking about going through such a hard time with his wife, Alan said that it has profoundly changed their outlook on life. They ended up selling most of their real estate properties, and started living a simpler life, away from all the publicity.
In July 2022, Alan and Denise revealed that they’re expecting their first grandchild. Alexandra – the middle of their three daughters carrying a baby boy. Continuing the streak of good news, it seems that Alan is about to have a new son-in-law. His youngest daughter, Mattie, recently announced her engagement to Connor Smith in an Instagram post.
Alan has been diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder
While Denise was going through cancer treatment, Alan was dealing with health-related issues of his own. In a 2021 interview with “USA Today”, he revealed that in 2011 he was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT), a rare degenerative nerve condition. There is no cure for this condition, which causes balance problems by affecting small leg and arm muscles. Fortunately, the disorder is treatable, and doesn’t alter the patent’s life expectancy.
‘It’s genetic, and I inherited from my daddy … There’s no cure for it, but it’s been affecting me for years. And it’s getting more and more obvious. And I know I’m stumbling around on stage. And now I’m having a little trouble balancing, even in front of the microphone, and so I just feel very uncomfortable’, Jackson said in the interview.
The condition forced Alan to slow down with his career, but he doesn’t plan on retiring just yet. In fact, in 2021, he released his latest album “Where Have You Gone”, featuring a mellow, old-school country sound.
“Last Call” tour
In early 2022, Jackson announced the “Last Call: One More for the Road” tour across the US, but it’s not a retirement tour, as the name might suggest. ‘I never wanted to do the big retirement tour, like people do, then take a year off and then come back. I think that’s kinda cheesy’, he said about his plans.
In August 2022, Alan had to reschedule the date for his concert in Kansas, Missouri due to a Covid-19 infection. ‘I’m so sorry I can’t be there tonight. I hate to disappoint my fans’, he told “Billboard” magazine. He has fortunately completely recovered, and has continued to tour as planned.
Hopefully, Alan will be able to do many more concerts – it’s been speculated that he might be planning to expand on “Last Call”, and add more tour dates outside of the US, but it’s hard to say just yet, due to the nature of his condition.
To aid the research of CMT, Alan will be donating $1 to CMT Research Foundation for each ticket sold on his tour.
In 2022, Alan launched his own whiskey brand called Silverbelly Whiskey. While he was on tour across the US, the singer was followed by a ‘whiskey wagon’ – a six-passenger Dolphin S RV which serves as a traveling minibar, serving Silverbelly Whiskey both alone and in cocktails.
The brand itself owes its name to the iconic silverbelly color of Jackson’s cowboy hats. It was developed in partnership with Silver Screen Bottling, and has seen a limited release in Missouri, Kentucky and South Carolina, among others states.
CMT lifetime achievement award
In the upcoming Country Music Television (CMT) Artist of the Year ceremony, Alan is set to be honored with their Artist of a Lifetime award. He will be joining the company of other recipients, which include Randy Davis, Loretta Lynn and Shania Twain.
CMT award is the county music equivalent of the Video Music Awards (VMAs), putting the main focus on music videos and TV specials.
‘I believe I’ve made more videos than just about anybody, and I know how important they have been in bringing my songs to life for the fans, so thank you CMT for all the years and for this sweet honor,’ Alan said via a statement: ‘I’m very proud.’ The ceremony is set to take place on 14 October 2022, in Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center at 9 pm EST.
Unsurprisingly, Alan Jackson is one of the richest country music artists of all time – his net worth has been estimated at over $150 million as of late 2022. This year alone, it’s projected that the singer will earn another $16 million, mainly from his “Last Call” tour.