Alan Jackson chased that Neon Rainbow with his own blend of honky tonk and modern country music all the way to the Hall of Fame. Along the way, the ACM (Academy of Country Music), CMA (Country Music Association) and Grammy award-winning country artist became a peer to George Jones, Randy Travis, John Anderson and other heroes, created a dream life for his high school sweetheart Denise Jackson, racked up number one hit songs and helped a nation heal with "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)."
One of the great country singer-songwriters of the current era can also be defined, to a lesser extent, by the following eight fast facts.
1. He Jumped Multiple Cars in a Monster Truck
Jackson pulled out all stops in 1997 for the "Who's Cheatin' Who" music video. In addition to inviting along NASCAR royalty, including fellow Georgia native Bill Elliott, he got to drive one of the most famous monster trucks, Bigfoot.
2. He Appeared On Matlock
Mayberry residents The Dillards weren't the only bluegrass, country and gospel music performers in the Andy Griffith multiverse. The "Chattahoochee" hit-maker appears briefly as a country singer in 1992 Matlock episode "The Vacation."
3. He Owned a Monkey
#DidYouKnow growing up Alan had a pet spider monkey named Peanut?
— Alan Jackson (@OfficialJackson) May 4, 2014
As a child, Jackson owned an usual pet. He owned a squirrel (or spider, depending on the source) monkey, of all things. Per a 2014 tweet, Jackson named his monkey Peanut.
4. He Enjoys Pineapple and Mayonnaise Sandwiches
Newnan, Ga.'s favorite son eats like a king. Elvis, that is. It came out in the '90s that while Jackson enjoyed eating the recipes out of his Who Says You Can't Cook It All cookbook when they were prepared by Denise or Mama Ruth, he also enjoyed a sandwich that should keep folks embroiled in a certain pizza topping debate up at night.
5. "Home" Was a Single Years in the Making
One of the better tracks on Jackson's 1990 debut album Here in the Real World is "Home," a story about his and his older sisters' parents' precious memories of building a home out of a toolshed. It existed as an album cut and B-side until its 1996 release as a single off The Greatest Hits Collection. It still cracked Billboard's Top 5, despite appearing on a six-year-old studio album. Apparently, Jackson's team held off to cut down on confusion between the song and a 1990 Joe Diffie single of the same title.
In any year, "Home" represents how real memories shape Jackson's songwriting.
6. His Mother's Maiden Name Was Musick
This isn't exactly a secret to fans, but it's worth discussing because it's kind of awesome. Had Jackson not been content with his all-American birth name, he could've been Mr. Music (with a "K") en route from The Nashville Network mail room to his debut album with Arista Records, 1990's Here in The Real World.
7. He's An Avid Country Music Supporter
Jackson's support of fellow entertainers can be summed up in one story. He was so moved by the early music of future duet partner Lee Ann Womack that he asked her label for multiple copies of one her albums. That way, he'd always have the CD on hand. Once he was in position to have multiple trucks and boats, he needed to hear Womack, Hank Williams, early career mentor Glen Campbell and other favorites on the go.
8. His Cousin Plays Major League Baseball
Another branch of Jackson's family tree includes distant cousin Brandon Moss, a journeyman baseball player and former All-Star drafted out of high school in 2002 by the Rex Sox organization.
This story originally ran on Oct. 17, 2018.