Alan Jackson Had to Fight His Record Label for ‘Chattahoochee’
"Chattahoochee" is arguably Alan Jackson's biggest hit. It's certainly the song from his catalog fans most identify with each summer, and it's perhaps the greatest summer song of all time. Had the legend's record label team gotten its way, however, we'd barely know it existed!
"Nobody wanted to put that out but Alan," label executive Gary Overton states in the new Alan Jackson: Small Town Southern Man documentary — and he makes a valid case. The song was so off-brand for a mysterious country crooner known mostly for quiet love songs (although this is post-"Don't Rock the Jukebox," so that explanation isn't irrefutable) and the music video treatment was kind of crazy.
Jackson was a music video visionary early in his career, and like he did with other vids, he brought a specific idea to the set of "Chattahoochee." That idea happened to call for him water skiing in torn blue jeans and cowboy boots. Perhaps it leaned up against cornpone, but it traveled. The much-watched clip is still iconic today. In fact, earlier this year Walker Hayes recreated the scene for his "'90s Country" music video!
The new documentary explores Jackson's childhood and early career, focusing primarily on time spent getting to Nashville and breezing through his years as a hitmaker during the second half. In 2017, the Newnan, Ga.-raised traditionalist was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In recent years he's slowed down his touring and recording schedule, although he always seems to have a new project at the ready.
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