Superstar Alan Jackson’s amazing chart success has been chronicled in the release of 34 Number Ones, a career-spanning, double-disc collection featuring all of Jackson’s #1 hits to date. Even before its release, the album title has already been eclipsed by Number One #35, with the chart-topping success of the current single, “As She’s Walking Away,” with Zac Brown Band featuring Alan.
With 37 songs in all, the project includes all 34 of Jackson’s previous #1 singles, together with “As She’s Walking Away” and two additional tracks: the beautiful “Look at Me” (previously available on the 2008 soundtrack to Billy: The Early Years) and Jackson’s never-before-released take on the classic Johnny Cash hit, “Ring of Fire.”
Alongside Alan’s first chart-topper, 1990’s “Here in the Real World,” are such enduring favorites as “Gone Country” (1995); Jackson’s poignant, GRAMMY-winning “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” (2001); the Jimmy Buffett duet “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” (2003); the recent “Country Boy,” and many more.
Over the course of those 34 number one hits, Alan’s sold more than 50 million albums. As superstars go, he’s one of only a handful of artists who’ve been around for two decades who still regularly top the country chart. And unlike the other consistent smashmakers who can make that claim, he’s the only one who is a true singer/songwriter, penning most of his own material.
In fact, over the course of his career, Alan has become one of the most successful and respected songwriter/performers in music - which has, no doubt, been a contributing factor in him being 16-time award winner at both the CMA and ACM Awards and a GRAMMY-honored songwriter, as well.
Based on sheer artistic craftsmanship, it’s easy to consider the superstar alongside his truest forebears - easy for anyone but Alan: “I wouldn’t want to compare myself to anybody,” Jackson says. “But if I was going to say somebody I wanted to be like, of course, the two singer/songwriters in country music that stick out to me are Hank Williams Sr. and Merle Haggard. I don’t know that there are two any better. I just don’t put myself in that category.”
Others might beg to differ, since Jackson’s considerable catalog of number one singles clearly positions him as a successor to these greats. He’s celebrated the common man in “Little Bitty,” “Where I Come From” and “Small Town Southern Man.” He’s spoken to the passing of generations in “Drive (For Daddy Gene).” He’s treated with deep respect the dream that country music itself represents in “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow.” He has had hits with songs as heartrendingly meaningful as “Remember When” and carefree and fun as “It‘s Five O‘Clock Somewhere.” He’s spoken for a nation in “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” and spoken for the nearest barroom in “Don’t Rock the Jukebox.” Alan’s music doesn’t just document his life - his music documents the live of every man.
Just taken on its own, 34 Number Ones is a fitting showcase for many of the songs that are best identified with one of country music’s true contemporary superstars. But 34 Number Ones also underscores why Alan Jackson is a revered member of today’s music scene: the collection chronicles the deep impact that Alan and his music continue to have on country music.
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