Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Alan Jackson, “Tonight I Climbed the Wall”

“Tonight I Climbed the Wall”

Alan Jackson

Written by Alan Jackson

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

April 30, 1993

Alan Jackson’s songwriting gift continues to mature.

The Road to No. 1

Alan Jackson’s A Lot About Livin’ album was getting ready to explode, but before it did so with its third single, Arista sent this often overlooked ballad to radio, and it kept Jackson’s chart-topping streak alive.

The No. 1

Many of Alan Jackson’s best songs are ones that he wrote by himself.

Once you know what to look for, you can spot his solo efforts easily.  When he’s on his own, the emotion and specific details drive the lyric, and he doesn’t compromise them by trying to make the lines rhyme more neatly or have a more consistent rhythm.

“Tonight I Climbed the Wall” is a great example of this.  The chorus itself is economical, circling back to the same title that opened it.  It’s conversational and it doesn’t force the metaphor to stretch beyond its purpose.

It feels like an intimate look into a real marriage that got a little sidetracked, with the husband being willing to swallow his pride and close the gap between them before it gets too wide.

Another one of the best from one of the best.

The Road From No. 1

Jackson’s next single is a game changer for his career.  We’ll get to it soon.

“Tonight I Climbed the Wall” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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Next: Lee Roy Parnell, “Tender Moment”


  1. Sounding like a broken record here, but I absolutely love this song, and it’s truly one of my favorites from AJ! This has everything I love in a classic AJ ballad, from the traditional country arrangement, a beautiful melody, a winning vocal performance, and simple, but well written and relatable lyrics. Even the guitar that opens the song and follows each chorus gets stuck in my head often. And when was the last time we heard a song featuring a lovely crying steel solo at the end on the radio? It’s simply amazing that a song like this was still able to top the charts in early ’93, and it’s an absolute shame that it’s become one of his more forgotten singles.

    As mentioned in Clint Black’s “When My Ship Comes In,” this song actually ended up on one of the last country tapes I recorded from the radio not too long before my little venture into oldies radio later in the Spring of ’93. Unfortunately, that tape ended up getting recorded over sometime later, and I wouldn’t hear this gem again until the early 00’s when I heard it on an independently owned country station that played all kinds of 80’s and 90’s songs as recurrents. I was actually able to get it on another tape at that time, and I would often just listen to this song over and over on my Walkman while I on the school bus in the morning. About 2-3 years later, I would finally get a used copy of the A Lot About Livin’ album for Christmas. :)

    This is also another music video I saw for the first time while I used to always catch GAC Classic in the early 00’s, and I remember being totally caught off guard seeing Alan without his signature mustache (and wearing a black hat, too, nonetheless!). Even today, I still can’t get over how much he looks like a completely different person without it, lol.

    For me, this song is the last of “Classic Alan Jackson” (1989-early 1993), while the next single coming up marks the beginning of “Modern Day Alan Jackson.” It’s also quite fitting, as this song could’ve fit in nicely on his previous album, Don’t Rock The Jukebox, imo.

  2. I think songs like this mark Alan Jackson’s emergence as a songwriting talent to rival Merle Haggard.

    This song is brilliant and beautiful.

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