Alan Jackson Honored as a ‘Giant’ in Star-Studded Special
Alan Jackson sat in the balcony of the Ryman Auditorium Thursday night as more than a dozen of his peers honored him during the taping of 'CMT Giants: Alan Jackson.' If he had any doubt of his status as a true icon in country music, it was whisked away as the audience went absolutely crazy when he made his first onstage appearance of the evening, joining Brad Paisley front and center to sing Jimmy Buffett's lines in his hit 'It's Five O'Clock Somewhere.'
Peers heaped praise after praise on Jackson, who managed to maintain his 'aw-shucks' demeanor throughout the night. Hank Williams Jr. called him "My REAL buddy" and Buffett complimented him on being someone who appreciates his fans. Carrie Underwood revealed that Alan's was the first concert she ever attended, and went on to say that he's someone she really looks up to. George Strait recalled the CMA Awards during which Alan sang the George Jones song "Choices" after awards show officials wouldn't let Jones sing the entire tune. Then Jones himself walked out to tell Alan, "I want to thank you for being a good friend of mine and a good friend of country music."
Alan's wife, Denise, provided both a funny moment and a poignant one when she came out to claim responsibility for her husband's career. She reminded everyone that she was the one who stopped Glen Campbell in an airport and asked him for advice for Alan. Jackson then connected with
's publishing company, which was the beginning of his country music journey.
"In my eyes, and in the eyes of our kids, you already are a giant," Denise told Alan. "We are so proud to be here to celebrate this special night with you. I love you."
's songs, giving them a bit of their own personality. Lee Ann Womack and Miranda Lambert sang 'Gone Country,' while Martina McBride delivered a beautiful version of 'When Somebody Loves You.' Dierks Bentley performed "Don't Rock The Jukebox," while Taylor Swift, who was born just as
started his career, did a credible version of "Drive."
sang "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)?," earning him a standing ovation.
The evening ended with Alan performing "Remember When" and "Chattahoochee," and inviting
, Strait, and Bentley to join him for the grand finale, singing "I'm A Country Boy." Interspersed throughout the music were clips of Jackson talking about his career, recalling that he was turned down by every label in town, which made him that more determined to succeed. He also told the audience, "This is an incredible honor. Deep down I don't feel like I deserve this because you just never feel like you're on the same level with your [musical] heroes." Alan told Denise and his daughters, "You are the foundation for my life," and drew a laugh when he went on to say "Denise met me when I was nobody and she still treats me that way sometimes." He also took time to thank his fans, saying they are "great people, there is no one better than the fans who have supported me throughout my career." "
'CMT Giants: Alan Jackson' will air December 6 on CMT.