17 October 1958, Newnan, Georgia, USA. Jackson, the son of a motor mechanic, had a love of gospel music through church and his family. His roots can be heard in Home (written for Mothers Day), Chattahoochee and his tribute to Hank Williams, Midnight In Montgomery. He has also revived several songs from his youth including Eddie Cochrans Summertime Blues and a joint composition from Roger Miller and George Jones, Tall Tall Trees. Jackson worked in various trades before moving to Nashville in 1986, with his wife Denise, to try and succeed as a country performer. Through a chance meeting with Glen Campbell, he gained an audition with his publishing company, and became the first artist to be signed to Arista Records Nashville division. He wrote most of his debut album, Here In The Real World, which remained on the US country album chart for over a year. Blue Blooded Woman was an immediate success, and four more singles from the album topped the US country charts - Here In The Real World, Wanted, Chasin That Neon Rainbow and Id Love You All Over Again.
In 1991, Jackson joined the Grand Ole Opry. The same years Dont Rock The Jukebox confirmed that his initial success was no fluke, spawning five number 1 singles - Dont Rock The Jukebox, Someday, Midnight In Montgomery, Dallas and Loves Got A Hold On You. He also wrote songs with Randy Travis, including the latters number 1 single Forever Together, and his own number 1 hit Shes Got The Rhythm And I Got The Blues. The album on which the latter featured, A Lot About Livin (And A Little Bout Lovin), was a multi-platinum success which included the number 1 hits Tonight I Climbed The Wall, Chattahoochee and Who Says You Cant Have It All. Honky Tonk Christmas included Alison Krauss, the Chipmunks and a duet with the late Keith Whitley. Who I Am included four more country number 1s, Summertime Blues, Livin On Love, Gone Country and I Dont Even Know Your Name. Gone Country wittily parodied people who turned to country music when it became fashionable: I heard down there, its changed, you see/Theyre not as backward as they used to be. Jackson contributed to tribute albums for the Eagles and Merle Haggard and displayed his traditional side by recording a duet of A Good Year For The Roses with its originator, George Jones. He also wrote Job Description to explain to his daughters, Mattie Denise and Alexandra Jane, why he was rarely home.
Jackson has won a succession of industry awards, establishing himself as a top ranking country star, not too far behind Garth Brooks. His 1998 set, High Mileage, debuted at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart in September. The following years Under The Influence featured cover versions of songs by artists who had influenced Jackson over the years. Three years later Jackson finally reached the top of the mainstream Billboard album chart with Drive, a feat he repeated in 2004 with What I Do. One of the tracks from Drive, Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning), was a highly popular song written in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11. In 2006, Jackson became the first artist to top the Billboard country chart with a gospel album (Precious Memories). He enjoyed further commercial success with the albums Like Red On A Rose (2006) and Good Time (2008), the latter providing the singer with this third mainstream chart-topper.
The UK magazine Country Music People said of Jackson, Hes uncontroversial, stands for the flag, Mom and apple pie, looks like he washes every day and sings for middle America. He stands for simple truths in straightforward, well-crafted songs and he says, I dont dance, I dont swing from ropes, I just stand there.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.