Alan Jackson, 'Where Were You' Is Icon's Proudest Moment

Posted Mar 28th 2012 by Gayle Thompson/The Boot
Alan Jackson has racked up numerous awards and accolades throughout his epic career, which has spanned more than two decades. In addition to dozens of trophies, he has earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and induction into both the Grand Ole Opry and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. But all of his successes pale in comparison to what he perceives as his biggest accomplishment of all -- writing 'Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)' in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

"I [recently] did a radio interview, and the guy was talking about being at the [CMA] Awards the night I sang 'Where Were You,'" Alan tells The Boot. "Even though that was a hard performance for me and an emotional time, I still get so many comments about that. Of all the awards, and all that kind of stuff, the music is still what I like. To be able to create a song that really affects people and makes a mark in the music industry, I would have to say that would be a highlight."

The Georgia native recalls one of the most emotional times he performed the powerful tune. "After 9/11, I played at the Pentagon and sang 'Where Were You' sitting there looking at survivors that were still bandaged up, with their families and the people who died," Alan recounts. "Those are some tough shows. But at the same time, it makes you feel good if people get something out of it."

Though he wrote the song solo, with the idea having come to him in the middle of the night, Alan explains that the lyrics really "came out of nowhere." "It was just a gift," he says. "I got up and scribbled it down and put the melody down so I wouldn't forget it, and the next day I started piecing all those verses together, thoughts I had or visuals I had."

Alan's new single, 'So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore,' may not deal with the sensitive subject 'Where Were You' does, but the 53-year-old still predicts it will also be a career milestone song for him. "I just think it's one of the better songs to come out of Nashville in a long time," he tells The Boot. "People are comparing it to a new 'He Stopped Loving Her Today.' I wouldn't want to put myself in that category with George [Jones], but it is a great song."