It’s hard to imagine that there was once a time when Alan Jackson was struggling to be heard. The now legendary country star moved from his hometown of Newnan, Ga. to Nashville in 1989 with the hopes of making it big.
Three years before he headed to the Music City, Jackson earned a spot on the daily television program “I Can Be a Star,” a country music talent show hosted by Jim Ed Brown on the Nashville Network. In the clip above, you’ll see a much younger Jackson give it his all for his one-minute performance of George Jones‘ “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
He channels all of his emotions into the song during his short segment, which only draws a smattering of applause from the studio audience. Little did he know, in just a few years, Jackson would be topping the charts and playing to large crowds of his own.
As he racked up hit after hit in the 1990s, Jackson forged a close friendship with Jones, known often as Jackson’s musical hero. When Jones passed away in 2013 at the age of 81, Jackson performed a heartbreaking rendition of “He Stopped Loving Her Today” during his funeral ceremony in Nashville.