Alan Jackson Has 50 Million Reasons to Smile
Alan Jackson and a few hundred friends, family and business associates celebrated a huge milestone Wednesday night in Nashville. The country superstar was the guest of honor at a party marking 50 million albums sold in his 19-year career.
On hand to help him celebrate were his wife, Denise, and their daughters Mattie, Ali and Dani. The setting for the party was casual elegance meets southern charm. A 30-foot wall of ice sculptures displayed Jackson's album jackets in the slowly melting art, surrounded by southern comfort food, including hamburgers, country ham and biscuits, grits and strawberry slushes. And for those who wanted something a little stronger, the bar served 'Good Time Martinis,' named after Jackson's latest chart-topping album.
Attendees were treated to a short film showcasing Jackson's career, from his early records and interviews to his most recent hits. Among the video clips was the night at the 1999 CMA Awards when Jackson interrupted his performance to sing the George Jones song 'Choices.' Jones had refused to attend the awards show because the CMA wanted him to do a shortened version of the tune. There was also a clip of the poignant 'Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning,' Alan's moving tribute to the victims of 9/11.
During a press conference before the party, Jackson remembered how painfully shy he was when he first got his recording deal and how excited he was to go into the studio to record his debut album. The singer also was adamant that it is all about the music these days, just as it was in the beginning. Jackson recalled a recent conversation he had with record company executives, telling them that they need to come out from behind their desks and go out on the road to see the variety of fans who come to country music shows, "from the people who have to come in a wheelchair to the little ones who are carried in their mama's arms."
Jackson says he's amazed that 50 million of his albums are floating around out there in the world. He recalled going on a fishing trip and landing on some remote island, where a native met his airplane holding a copy of one of his CDs.
Jackson acknowledged that the 50 million in sales would not have come without a lot of hard work from a lot of people. He thanked everyone from his record company to the musicians who played on his records. Most of all, he thanked his fans who have supported him and related to him over the years: "Country music has always been America's music -- what you do and what you are -- it's about your life."