In 1986, an almost clean-cut Alan Jackson gripped a gold microphone and sang a cover of George Jones’ “He Stopped Lovin’ Her Today” for the live audience and viewers of TNN’s You Can Be a Star.
Keith Stegall the man who would go on to produce and write many of Jackson’s songs — was on stage as a judge for the televised singing competition, which was a precursor to shows like Nashville Star. It was the first time Stegall heard the future star.
Perhaps more entertaining than Jackson’s schoolboy haircut is that the host introduces him only as “Al.” Within three years of this clip, he would release his debut album, Here in the Real World, as Alan Jackson. A few years later, the name ‘Alan’ would become a one-name moniker, much like Garth, Kenny and Shania. Jackson has gone on to one of the biggest careers in country music history — and he’s done it all without compromising the traditional country roots that established his sound in the first place.
With that buttery voice, it’s hard to believe that Al Jackson wouldn’t have been just as successful.