Song title "Drive (For Daddy Gene)" telegraphs that Alan Jackson's No. 1 hit from 2002 pays tribute to the Country Music Hall of Famer's father, Eugene Jackson.
Jackson's lyrics share how he and Daddy Gene, who passed away on Jan. 31, 2000, bonded over an old pickup truck they fixed together as well as their trusty fishing boat.
The title track from Arista Nashville album Drive adds another Father's Day-appropriate twist when Jackson shares the joy found in similar experiences with his children. To drive (pun intended) the song's final point home, its music video shows all three Jackson daughters (Mattie Denise, Dani Grace and Alexandra Jane) riding around with their daddy in a Jeep.
The family-centered footage, directed by Steven Goldmann and animated by The Illusion Factory, won Video of the Year at the 2002 ACM Awards.
Nearly 20 years later, seeing Jackson's daughters when they were younger gives "Drive (For Daddy Gene)" a similar visual appeal as a couple of music videos that pair country stars with at least one of their kids: Doug Supernaw's "I Don't Call Him Daddy" (co-starring future NFL player Phillip Supernaw) and Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance" (featuring her two daughters, Anna Lise Liddell and future recording artist Aubrie Sellers).
Jackson's soared as a songwriter over the years when dealing with memories of his small town upbringing ("First Love," "I Still Like Bologna") and family life ("Remember When"), so it's no surprise that he and producer Keith Stegall found commercial and critical success with a story that spans three generations.
It's from the same album as George Strait duet "Designated Drinker," 9/11 reaction song "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" and the Top 5 singles "Work in Progress" and "That'd Be Alright."
Drive won both the ACM and CMA Awards' Album of the Year prize in 2002.
Beyond topping the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, "Drive (For Daddy Gene)" reached No. 28 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100.
The song's been performed on television at least twice in 2021: at the ACM Awards on April 18 and during PBS' annual July 4 broadcast, A Capitol Fourth.
"I'd like to do a song for you now that...[it was] quite a few years ago when I wrote this," Jackson said before his Independence Day rendition, which was taped at the Ryman Auditorium. "I'd lost my daddy and I wanted to write a song for him. I didn't wanna write some old sad, crying, dying thing. So I started thinking about growing up, and all I ever wanted to do was drive something. He taught me all about that, and that's what this song's about."
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