Story Behind the Song: Alan Jackson, ‘Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow’
"Chasin' That Neon Rainbow," the fourth single from Alan Jackson's freshman Here in the Real World album, was co-written by Jackson and Jim McBride. The song was released in September of 1990, and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, also earning a Top 50 spot on the year-end chart (No. 48). Below, McBride tells The Boot about writing the tune.
Alan started telling me about how he had this old Dodge van, and he would drive down to Florida for shows and play five or six sets a night. By the time he paid the band and bought gas, he wouldn't make anything. Then he'd go to Arkansas the next weekend and do the same thing. He was whining that he couldn't get a record deal, but other people would get off the bus and come down on Music Row and get a deal.
I had had this song idea for two solid years that I never did anything with, because I'd never been in a band. The title was called "Chasin' That Neon Rainbow, Livin' That Honky-Tonk Dream." I'd written it down and carried it around for two years in my notebook. As Alan was telling me what he was going through, I thought, "That's what this song is all about." I told him the title and how I thought it was exactly what he describing.
That's the first song we ever wrote together. It was on his first album, Here in the Real World. The radio that was mentioned in the song is now in the Country Music Hall of Fame. It was kind of embarrassing: They called and asked if I had the original lyrics, and I said I did. They said they wanted them to display with the radio. I told them they were a mess, and they said if I changed one single thing, they wouldn't want them. Well, they were on four separate yellow pad pages -- a verse on every page, and the chorus on another page. It was an unholy mess. When they displayed the radio, at first they displayed the lyrics with it, but now I think it's just the radio out there. The lyrics are in the archives.
So that's how all that happened ... That song and that album started a really nice thing for me and Alan.
This story was originally written by Vernell Hackett, and revised by Angela Stefano.
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