Country Rewind

A 27-Year-Old “Al” Jackson Sings Some George Jones


Alan Jackson has sold over 80 million records with 66 singles on the Billboard charts and 35 #1 hits. But back in 1986, no one had ever heard of the Country Music Hall of Famer and even the host of TNN’s You Can Be a Star only referred to him as “Al” when he was selected from the audience at the competition show to get up and sing a song. Jackson performed George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” and although he was only sending the show to a commercial break, his emotional delivery of the tune was evident of what was to come from the Georgia native.

At the time Jackson was working in the mail room at TNN and his short appearance did catch the eye of one of the show’s judges, Keith Stegall. The two would form a musical partnership with Stegall going on to produce all but one of Jackson’s studio albums.

Following his You Can Be a Star appearance, Jackson landed a staff writer position with Glen Campbell’s publishing company and then went on to become the very first act signed to Arista Records’ country label. His first single, “Blue Blooded Woman” was released in late 1989, with his first big hit, “Here in the Real World” following a few months later.

Below is the video of “Al” Jackson performing “He Stopped Loving Her Today” on TNN’s You Can Be A Star in 1986.


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