Music

Remember Alan Jackson's ACM and CMA Award Protests?

Alan Jackson performs on stage at Bridgestone Arena on October 08, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

Alan Jackson has long been an icon in country music, and while he often comes off as an agreeable artist, he's not afraid to take a stand when necessary. Two of those stands took place at two different awards shows in the 1990s when Jackson seemingly didn't agree with aspects of the show. The first time Jackson launched a quiet protest was at the 29th Annual ACM Awards in 1992, which he co-hosted with Reba McEntire. While Jackson did wear a tux while accepting his award for Single of the Year for "Chattahoochee," he decided to change into a Hank Williams Sr. T-shirt for the rest of the show, including for his "Gone Country" performance and while accepting of the Album of the Year trophy. This was a choice that puzzled people, including Dick Clark, as award shows were seen as strictly black tie events at the time.

"I love Hank, and I get a lot of gifts on the road playing, and a fan gave me this shirt, and I just saw it in the closet before I came out here this weekend and I grabbed it and said, 'I'm gonna wear it for my song,' you know, 'Gone Country.' Hank's country," Jackson told Clark in response to his questions bout the T-shirt.

But the T-shirt issue wasn't the most humorous and rebellious move pulled by Jackson that night. As is often the case at award shows, Jackson sang his performance of "Gone Country" to a pre-recorded track. Jackson didn't agree with this method and decided to clue viewers in on that fact by sending his drummer out on stage without any drum sticks. While Jackson is performing, his drummer is clearly seen behind him making all the movements of drumming, but he's not holding any sticks.

The next time Jackson decided to protest something at a country music awards show, it was a bit less subtle. His next stand came at the 1999 CMA Awards in Nashville and was in response to country legend George Jones receiving a smaller performance slot to perform a shortened version of the song, "Choices." Jones didn't agree with this treatment, so he bowed out of the show completely. Jackson, on the other hand, was given a full-length performance slot for his hit song "Pop A Top," and he used it to recognize "the Possum." During his performance, Jackson sang part of his own song, "Pop A Top," before segueing into George Jones' "Choices" to honor the singer and show solidarity with him. This led to a standing ovation from the crowd full of country artists and fans alike, who seemingly agreed with the country singer's statement.

Jackson, of course, is a Grammy-winning country superstar and singer/songwriter with nearly 30 No. 1 singles including "Don't Rock The Jukebox," "Remember When," "Good Time," and many more. He's a member of both the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame and has received countless award and accolades over his more than 30-year career.

 

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Remember Alan Jackson's ACM and CMA Award Protests?