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25 Years Ago: Alan Jackson Signs First Recording Contract

Alan Jackson Signs Contract
Alan Jackson Collection, Courtesy of Schmidt Relations

June 26, 1989 might have seemed like any other day in Nashville, but it was actually one of those watershed moments that only reveals itself in retrospect.

A struggling young country singer named Alan Jackson signed his first recording contract that day — 25 years ago today — launching one of the most celebrated country music careers of all time.

The photo above, from Jackson’s private collection, shows the aspiring young singer with Tim DuBois, then-president of Arista Records, and Barry Coburn, Jackson’s manager at the time.

For someone who would go on to such an auspicious career, Jackson got off to a slow start with his first single, ‘Blue Blooded Woman,’ which failed to crack the Top 40. But his next single, ‘Here in the Real World’ — the title song of his debut album — reached the Top 5, followed by a rapid succession of hits including ‘Wanted,’ ‘Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow’ and ‘I’d Love You All Over Again.’

From there the singer-songwriter has amassed an astonishing 50 Top 10 hits, with 35 of them reaching No. 1. He has also won two Grammys, 16 CMA Awards and 17 ACM Awards. He is a member of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry.

The superstar is still going strong after a quarter of a century. Jackson recently received the first-ever Impact Award at the CMT Music Awards, and has announced plans for a 25th Anniversary Tour, which is slated to kick off in the Spring of 2015.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will launch an exhibit devoted to his career on Aug. 29, 2014, using many of his own personal items to tell the story of Jackson’s career.

In addition, Jackson will serve as the Hall’s Artist in Residence, performing special concerts at the venue on Oct. 8 and Oct. 22.

Fresh from the success of his most recent project, ‘The Bluegrass Album’ — which won Album of the Year in The Boot’s first annual Golden Boot Awards — Jackson is also working on new music to coincide with the tour.

He assures fans it is not a farewell tour, adding that he could see himself working as much as he wants to well into his later years.

“I don’t know what I’d retire from,” he points out wryly. “I don’t work much now.”

Next: The Top 10 Alan Jackson Songs

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