Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Alan Jackson, “Don’t Rock the Jukebox”

“Don’t Rock the Jukebox”

Alan Jackson

Written by Alan Jackson, Roger Murrah, and Keith Stegall

Billboard

#1 (3 weeks)

Juuly 6 – July 20, 1991

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

June 28 – July 5, 1991

Alan Jackson dodges the sophomore slump.

The Road to No. 1

Here in the Real World, the debut major label album from Alan Jackson, produced four consecutive No. 1 singles in 1990 and 1991.   A chance comment about a wobbly jukebox from co-writer Roger Murrah to Alan Jackson inspired the song which would serve as the lead single and title track of Jackson’s second set for Arista Nashville.

The No. 1

And it’s a straight up classic.  We knew it would become one in 1991, and it’s remained one for thirty years since, standing tall among the catalog of the most impressive male vocalist of his generation.

It’s got that universal appeal that captures why country music was gaining fans well beyond the south in the early nineties.  Like the rest of us, Jackson loved him some rock and roll, but when he needs his heartstrings pulled, well, “there ain’t nothin’ like a steel guitar to drown a memory.”

Jackson knows why country music matters, and he knows how to make country music that resonates across generations and backgrounds.

Do I have to write more about “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” that this to make my case?  It’s “Don’t Rock the Jukebox,” folks.

The Road From No. 1

Like I said, no sophomore slump here.  All five singles from Don’t Rock the Jukebox will top at least one of the singles charts..

“Don’t Rock the Jukebox” gets an A. 

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Garth Brooks, “The Thunder Rolls” | Next: Billy Dean, “Somewhere in My Broken Heart”

4 Comments

  1. This song feels like it has always been with me. Just part of my country music fabric. So simple and true. It’s such a clever way to double-down on tradition and identify when country music may still be the only cure to what ails a person today. As Kevin pointed out, the perfect song to reach across generations and backgrounds. It’s progressive nostalgia!

    I love the story behind the song is itself classic. So country. Lyrics effortless falling from people’s mouths and being transformed into song.

    His second album, which I purchased on cassette, just blew me away. I was unabashedly a Jackson fan for life after listening to it.”Midnite in Montgomery” and “Someday” grabbed me by the throat and rattled my head. “That’s All I Need to Know” was so beautiful.

    Wow. Wow. And. Wow.

  2. By this point, Alan had already become one of my new favorite artists, with my parents having bought his debut album for me on cassette, and this new song with him singing about jukeboxes, one of my other fascinations at the time, only made me like him even more. Even when this first came out, it was definitely a hit with all of us in the household. And now today, the sentiment of the song is more relatable for me than ever. While I do also love me some Rock & Roll and some other genres, Country (especially, older country) is still what speaks to me the most. Perhaps there should now be a song called “Don’t Bro The Jukebox,” due to some of my more recent experiences at the Texas Roadhouse, though it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, lol.

    Always loved the video for the song, as well, especially with that totally cool vintage jukebox, and of course the Possum’s cameo appearance. I miss being able to see jukeboxes like that in more places! I’ve read in one of my vintage Country America magazines from 1992 that a woman actually won that jukebox in the video as a grand prize in one of their special giveaways, and there was even a picture of her and her family standing beside it in their living room.

    Like Peter, I always thought Alan’s story behind the song was pretty neat and just simply classic. I also very much share his enthusiasm for the parent album it would be a part of. AJ’s sophomore album would eventually become one of my personal all time favorite albums of his, and one of those many early 90’s albums that’s pure gold from start to finish without a single dud to be found.

  3. Somewhere at my parents’ house there is a TDK (or maybe BASF?) tape with this and the four previous songs recorded off of radion. That’s where it all began for me…

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