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Happy Birthday, Alan Jackson!

Our Country

October 17 is a great day to celebrate country music--'cause it's also the birthday of one of its most enduring, but still fully current stars. An artist who is by all notions a seasoned musical veteran, but who still is making it to the top of the charts; not an easy thing to do after two decades in the business.

Happy 52nd birthday to Alan Jackson!

Jackson, whose debut album came out back in 1990, actually has a real, tangible star to his name now--he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in April. Over the course of his career, he's sold more than 50 million albums. He's also a bona fide songwriter as well as performer, having written the bulk of his material himself.

Jackson says he thinks his amazing success came from a simple motivation--to do better than just "get by" in life. "I grew up with nothing," he explains. "My family were good, hard-working people, and had decent jobs, but they didn't have any money. It was either just be a working man and get by, or take a chance on the music business. That was what drove me."

Well, it's safe to say that Jackson's gone about as far past "getting by" as it's possible to--at least in his field. In addition to his staggering sales record, he's notched up a remarkable 34 No. 1 hits in the past 20 years.

Which leads to my question for the day: Which one of Jackson's many hits is your personal favorite? There are a lot to choose from; with the most widely recognized by the general public probably being his post-9/11 hit "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)."

If I personally had to choose one, though, I'd choose 2003's "Remember When," a quiet song about looking back on the highs and lows of life with one's parner. To me it is unique for its ability to somehow capture the poignancy of enduring love in a deceptively simple narrative. It is a great showcase for his emotional vocal style.

And, most tellingly--I always cry when I hear it.

Jackson, who's been married to his wife Denise for more than 30 years (as well as briefly separated from her), certainly wrote that one straight from his heart. Here's the video--enjoy.

Happy birthday, Alan, and hope you are glad for all the life you've had (so far)!

Please let me know which of Alan Jackson's songs are your favorites, in celebration of his birthday.

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