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Alan Jackson Didn‘t Think His ’90s Classic ‘Chattahoochee’ Would Be a Hit

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Country Music Hall of Fame member Alan Jackson has earned 26 No. 1 hits on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart hits since releasing his debut single, “Blue Blooded Woman,” in 1989. But the Georgia native says he initially didn’t think one of his signature songs, 1993’s “Chattahoochee,” would become a hit.

Jackson and fellow songwriter Jim McBride crafted the uptempo song, which centers on two teens falling in love on the banks of northern Georgia’s Chattahoochee River.

Jackson recently appeared on his daughter Mattie Jackson’s In Joy Life podcast, where he explained, “A lot of my songs I write out of my life are true experiences, but at the same time they relate to other people. … When we cut that, it was a fun, uptempo thing about coming [of] age. I thought, ‘Well yeah, it’s a fun song and I like it, and people in Georgia are gonna like it. Nobody in the rest of the country, the rest of the world, don’t know what it is or care about it.’”

Jackson was wrong.

“Chattahoochee” was included on Jackson’s album A Lot About Livin’ (And a Little ‘Bout Love). The song not only became a four-week No. 1 Country Airplay hit, but also went on to win the CMA Awards for single of the year and song of the year. Now, 30 years after its initial release, the song is a stone-cold ’90s country classic and has been a mainstay in Jackson’s concerts for the past three decades.

“I learned right quick that everybody has a Chattahoochee,” Jackson said on the podcast. “It might be called something else, or might not even be a river at all, but the story was something people could relate to in their life, wherever they were from. So you just never know.”

Jackson also hinted that there could be new music on the way, following his 2021 album Where Have You Gone.

“Well, yes. I would hope so,” Jackson said. “I mean, I may not have toured much, but like I said, the creative part jumps out every now and then. I’m always scribbling down ideas and thinking about melodies, and I feel like there’ll be some more music to come, yes.”

Jackson said he finds songwriting “more fulfilling than anything,” adding that songwriting has helped invigorate his overall artistry and touring through the years.

“It’s like, you can be a singer and go out and tour, but it’s kind of like you’re just doing the same thing over and over,” he said. “When you make an album, or especially when you write a lot of the songs, that’s creating something. It’s a challenge, so it keeps you interested a little more. If I didn’t write, I think I would’ve gotten bored just singing a long time ago.”

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