Thursday, September 11, 2008

Number 454 - Alan Jackson

Number 454

Alan Jackson

"Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning"

September 11 2001
I am listening to the film "Loose Change" as i write this. So many theories, so many unanswered questions regarding September 11 & just so many things do not add up. If you havent seen the film, then i highly recommend it. You can watch it >here, thats till they remove it, oh and its in excellent quality.
Alan Jackson's song is a fitting tribute, if not the best tribute song ever for 9/11. The song is gut wrenching honest, it speaks of love for you family, friends, & a deep pride for his country. I think he sums it up best with the line "I watch CNN but I'm not sureI can tell you the differenceIn Iraq and Iran". and follws it up later with "Where were you when the world Stopped turning that September day?" To me, it is one of the greatest songs ever written.
If, John McCain elected as President, then i am 100 % sure there will be another day like 9/11 on American soil. Only problem is, we won't really know who did it, just like September 11 2001.
Good ole country boy
The odd thing about Drive is that its centerpiece and its emotional fulcrum is a song that was likely one of the last recorded for the record. That song, of course, is "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," Alan Jackson's attempt to capture the hurt, pain, confusion, and overwhelming sadness caused by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The song works because Jackson keeps his sights simple as he conveys the bewilderment and sadness of the average American in the days after the attack, sketching the little things that people did to just get through the hours or how time just stopped cold. Given the enormity of the subject -- it's simply not something that can be summarized in song -- it's a surprisingly effective and moving tune, something that signals that Jackson is indeed in the forefront of the country singers of his time because it plays to his strengths: it's within the tradition of classic country and delivered simply, but with the vernacular and production of the modern day.
Where were you boy?
And that's why even if it was a last-minute addition to the record, it fits so well into a typically strong collection of material from Jackson -- musically, it fits perfectly among these heartache ballads and mid-tempo honky tonkers, but it also gives it significant emotional weight. It, in effect, acts as the anchor for the rest of the album, lending songs that are very good genre pieces -- whether it's outside material like the excellent, poppy "A Little Bluer Than That" or original material -- extra weight. The great thing is that Drive doesn't really need it, since it's filled with top-notch songs, including the great George Strait duet "Designated Drinker" and "Drive," a tribute to his dad that's nearly as affecting in its own way as "Where Were You." This is not a total shock, since Jackson's track record is one of the strongest in '90s country, but nevertheless a record this solidly crafted and emotionally resonant is a welcome event all the same. ~ [Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide]
When The World Stopped Turning
Jackson was devastated by the events of 9-11. He wanted to write a song expressing his thoughts and emotions, but he found it hard to do so for many weeks. "I didn't want to write a patriotic song", Jackson said. "And I didn't want it to be vengeful, either. But I didn't want to forget about how I felt and how I knew other people felt that day." Finally, on a Sunday morning in late October 2001, he woke up at 4 a.m. with the melody, opening lines and chorus going through his mind. He hastily got out of bed, still in his underwear, and sang them into a hand-held recorder so he wouldn't forget them. Later that morning, when his wife and children had gone to Sunday school, he sat down in his study and completed the lyrics.
click to enlarge
The verses focused on others' reactions in the form of questions. One verse asks, "Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow?/Go out and buy you a gun?/Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watchin'/And turn on I Love Lucy reruns?" In the chorus, Jackson tries to sum up his own feelings, first by calling himself merely "a singer of simple songs", and finally by paraphrasing the Biblical New Testament's first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 13, verse 13: "Faith, hope and love are some good things he gave us/And the greatest is love."
Initially, he felt squeamish about recording it, much less releasing it, because he disliked the idea of capitalizing on a tragedy. But after he played it for his wife Denise and for his producer, Keith Stegall, and it met with their approval, Jackson went into the studio to record "Where Were You" that week. On Stegall's advice, Jackson played the finished track for a group of executives at his record label. "We just kind of looked at one another", RCA Label Group chairman Joe Galante said later. "Nobody spoke for a full minute.
" ~ [source: wikipedia]
What does Rolling Stone think of Alan Jackson?
Alan Jackson has a lovely, loping voice, like a confident man's walk. His ninth album, Drive, hits all the country cliches with amiable accuracy. There's been no better Nashville tune this year than the title track, a midtempo charmer that carries the singer from memories of Dad's cherished junker to hopes that his own girls will remember their first turns at the wheel. Whether love goes right ("Bring on the Night," "Once in a Lifetime Love"), wrong ("A Little Bluer Than That," "The Sounds") or is just a "Work in Progress," whether he's deep in the bag ("Designated Drinker") or wistful ("First Love," "That'd Be Alright"), the instrumentation is loose-limbed and assured, with the steel guitar playing exclamation point to Jackson's relaxed declaratives. The album features one live and one studio recording of Jackson's September 11th ode, "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)," a song that is everything an "event" song from a country superstar can be: odious, sentimental and, finally, heartbreaking. Jackson presents himself as a gravy-stained average Joe who doesn't know the difference between "Iraq and Iran," but his protestations of ignorance give way to unexpectedly gimlet-sharp probings. It's hard to scoff when he asks, Were you "teaching a class full of innocent children?" - why, yes, I was, and damn you, Alan Jackson, for not letting us forget. ~ [source:rolling stone - 2002]
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '454th Song of all Time' was "My Sweet Lord" by George Harrison. George Harrison has appeared in The Definitive 1000 @ Number 806
Other songs with reference to Alan Jackson #818
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (Not one song) and the Album ranked at (But we think, you made us cry)
This song has a Definitive 1000 rating of 77.2 out of 108
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

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