Country Music News

After the terror attacks on September 11, 2001, Alan Jackson put pen to paper. He wrote one of the best songs about the tragedy of 9/11, “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning).”

In January 2002, I interviewed him for his album Drive. He told me about the song, saying, “When you can write about a subject that’s really moved you. Whether it’s a tragedy or something happy, it’s gonna come across more honest, and it’s gonna be a better song that reaches people more naturally.” He noted that he wasn’t sure why the song came to him. Jackson said, “That song came out of nowhere for me. I feel like I can’t even take credit for it sometimes. I’d woken up in the middle of the night and had song ideas and melodies before, but the chorus was just very clear and structured. It was almost word for word, the way it ended up on the record.”

He continued, “It was a gift, and it came about overnight, and I finished the verses the next morning when my wife and kids were gone. I was reluctant about writing a song anyway for the eleventh. I had thought about it and actually kicked around an idea or two and then said, ‘Nah, I ain’t gonna write about that.'”

Alan didn’t even want to record it. He admitted to me at the time, “I was reluctant about recording it, and Keith (Steagal, his producer) heard it and wanted to do it. Then, after we recorded it, everybody got excited, and that’s how it all started. The CMA (Awards) was the next week, and I just wrote the thing, and we were in the studio already working on the album. So we recorded it, and everybody said, ‘Oh, we’ve got to do it.’ Then, after that night, radio started playing it, and we hadn’t released it as a single. I told them I didn’t want it to be a single; I just wanted to do it on the show, and if people wanted to play it, they’d play it. That’s what happened; they just started playing it.”

RELATED: Carrie Underwood, Lainey Wilson To Honor Alan Jackson At CMA Awards'

Jackson did not want to use the song and its message for personal gain. He told me, “It’s a very simple song, and I appreciate all the attention. I’m glad that so many people feel strongly about it, and it’s made me feel proud. I didn’t want to be selling myself on a tragedy like that. I didn’t want it to come across that way, and I’ve tried hard for it not to seem that way. We haven’t tried to sell any product from it, a single or anything. Other than trying to get the album so people could buy it. People are wearing me out trying to get it (laughs), so I’m glad we could let them hear it.”

He added, “I’ve never liked real preachy songs anyway in my music, but this was a special song, and people wanted to hear it. We had a million comments and emails and letters, and it was truly overwhelming after the CMAs all the response we had. It was hard to swallow for a day or two; it was nice, but it was just a lot.”

The emotional song lyrics include, “I’m just a singer of simple songs / I’m not a real political man / I watch CNN, but I’m not sure I can tell you / The difference in Iraq and Iran / But I know Jesus and I talk to God / And I remember this from when I was young / Faith, hope, and love are some good things He gave us / And the greatest is love.”

See Alan’s Performance of “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning” at the 2001 CMA Awards.

The Tallest Singers In Country Music

  • Chris Young - 6'4 inches Tall

    Chris Young

    When you look at him, it’s clear he is a big guy. He stands 6’4, and Chris has a big presence in country music and a lot of “Famous Friends” to share his success with. His “Famous Friends” duet with Kane Brown scored him a number-one song. His latest duet with Mitchell Tenpenny, “At The End Of The Bar,” also went to number one on the country charts.

  • Alan Jackson - 6'4 Inches Tall

    Alan Jackson

    Alan Jackson is a tall, blonde country icon at this point in his career and will be honored at next week’s CMA Awards with the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award.

  • Blake Shelton - 6'5 Inches Tall

    Blake Shelton

    Blake is the guy you think of when you think of tall country superstars, but his height only gets him to number three on our list. His success puts him at number one as he will launch his final year as a coach on NBC’s The Voice in 2023.

  • Trace Adkins - 6' 6 Inches Tall

    Trace Adkins
    A good buddy of Shelton’s and the guy who inducted and asked Blake to become a member of his beloved Grand Ole Opry. Trace also shows his height and acting chops in the FOX series, Monarch.

  • Lady A's Charles Kelly - 6'6 Inches Tall

    Charles Kelley
    Charles towers over his Lady A bandmates, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood. As he works to get sober and return back to touring in 2023, he captures our hearts as one of the tallest country singers of all time.

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